FACULTY/STAFF BLACK LIVES MATTER AT UNT TOWN HALL

SUBMITTED QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS

JUNE 8, 2020

A transcript of questions, comments and answers submitted during the Faculty and Staff Black Lives Matter town hall on June 8, 2020, is below. Because the transcript is lengthy and, in some aspects, repetitive, we have grouped questions together by topic for ease of access.

We believe change — both immediate and long-term, sustainable — is imperative for our university to be the wonderfully diverse, caring university we aspire to be. We have been listening to our students, faculty and staff, and working on creating the pathways for that change. You can learn more in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Please note the questions and comments below were submitted via chat function online and may contain misspellings, typos and grammatical errors. We chose to leave user submitted comments and questions completely unedited in an effort to maintain the integrity of the original poster’s intentions, rather than risk potentially changing meaning.


Jump Links:


Planning and Taking Action

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I’m disappointed that the university administration has not made an official response (that I know of) in response to the BSU’s demands in November 2019. The students submitted a thoughtful and respectful list of demands to mitigate racism on campus and deserve a respectful response that explains what concrete steps UNT is taking.

Response: We have made several responses to the requests, and outlined them at the UNT System Board of Regents meetings in public documents that the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity helped us prepare.  You also can learn more about the university’s response in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why does it take a national crisis to get UNT Administration talking about racism seriously when an incident happened ON OUR CAMPUS, TO OUR STUDENTS in November during the When Hate Comes to Campus event. Afterward, many students were upset and they wanted us to take action. As a university, we should have started talking about this then so we could start taking action NOW, but UNT Administration, UNT SYSTEM, & UNT Board of Regents did nothing but give lip service and say they “care” to our students in response to their ideas--which weren't prefect, but they were a good start. That event made national news and was picked up SAGE Publishers. We are lucky that we still have a fair institutional reputation after that.

Response: We have been talking about these issues on our campus very publicly for many months. We have made several responses to the student requests from November, and outlined them at the Board of Regents meetings in  public documents the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity helped us prepare.  You can learn more in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The president told the students that nothing sustainable ever came from radical responses yet there is proof that this does work. We need immediate change as well as sustainable change.

Response: We believe change -- both immediate and long-term, sustainable -- is imperative for us to be the wonderfully diverse, caring university we aspire to be. We have been listening to our students, faculty and staff, and working on creating the pathways for that change. You can learn more in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I have concerns regarding the repeated unanswered questions from students and organizations at last weeks town hall meeting. Much as has happened in previous town halls, it seemed as though President Smatresk was more interested in listening to the traumatic experiences of students. Why do black and brown students have to continually share their racist and traumatic experiences, for you to continually not believe them? We have had plenty of conversation and discussion. You can show your care and commitment through action.

Response: Thank you for your comments. Comments shared by the students are believed.  Please visit https://president.unt.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-campus for actions taken to date to address issues raised by UNT’s students. Also, we encourage students to report allegations of discrimination and harassment to the Dean of Students Office or to the Office of Equal Opportunity. 

Question/Comment (Shahla Alai):
Can you please tell us how and when you will respond specifically to each of the points that Dr. Carey and the BFN made at the onset of the meeting?

Response: UNT responded to the points presented by Dr. Chandra Carey at the beginning of the virtual Town Hall. Look for responses to demands and requests made by SGA, BSU and Dr. Carey (BFN) here:  https://president.unt.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why has it taken so long for this to become an issue for the university?  Has UNT just now realized there is discrimination on campus?

Response: Diversity and Inclusion is a long standing and ongoing part of our effort to continuously improve as a university. You can learn more in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus. You can read the full plan at: https://president.unt.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-campus.

Question/Comment (Lucy Mwanzia):
You listened during the November incident and no ACTION has been taken since then. Why do you decide to listen now? Is it because it is a global crisis that is now believable due to the media? UNT does not show it "Cares" by waiting a week to speak on what has happened. For a VP or Executive Director wait almost 2 weeks to respond. Why does the UNT structure prohibit personal support. It's a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of experience it. The Black community has no obligation to explain how we are feeling or educate people on what we are dealing with. What resources has UNT offered the black community? How you contacted every single one of them, asking what they need from you, how you or UNT can support them?

Response: We have made several responses to the requests, and outlined them at the Board of Regents meetings as public documents the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity helped us prepare.  You can learn more in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Does the Administration have plans to revisit the list of demands from SGA & Black Student Organization and working them into the plans that various Administration have mentioned are in development?

Response: We have made several responses to the requests, and outlined them at the Board of Regents meetings as public documents the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity helped us prepare.  You can learn more in the "Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus." You can read the full plan at: https://president.unt.edu/diversity-and-inclusion-campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
While i thing meetings like this are great, it's easy to say "there will be more conversations", "we'll look into that", and "that sounds like a good idea". Will there be any centralized website or announcements that keep up with the actual changes that are made?

Response: There will be a central website that will include the responses to questions submitted during the Black Lives Matter Town Hall and the responses to student demands submitted in November 2019, May 2020, June 2020 and the Black Faculty Network’s requested stated by Dr. Chandra Carey. You can watch the town hall recordings, read the transcripts and the questions and comments on the president’s website. You also can learn more about UNT’s plan – Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
All of the "what we have done already" actions that I am hearing that affect staff are only in Student Affairs. What about the rest of us?

Response: There are “actions” occurring in other units across the university, including the creation of diversity and inclusion councils in nearly all of our colleges and the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
This question is specifically for the president. WIll you develop a diverse hire plan to better recruit and retain higher leadership (VPs and Directrors) For example  90% of VPs and directors for Student Affairs are white.

Response: A more diverse leadership as well as faculty and staff across the institution is an important goal for our university and one that we have committed to in our Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Did anything concrete happen? I feel like this entire session accomplished nothing for BLM...

Response: Yes. A series of actions have been taken in response to the November meetings with the SGA. University leaders worked to develop an action plan – Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
need sooner than August!

Response: Agreed.  However, we need some time to work on issues raised during the Town Halls. Also, we want to be able to report back to the campus community our progress in addressing the demands issued by students (November 2019, May 2020 and June 2020) and the requests outlined by Dr. Chandra Carey who represented the Black Faculty Network during the Black Lives Matter Town Hall for UNT faculty and staff.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We need more Black Faculty, Department Chairs, Deans, and Executive-Level Administrators,

Response: We agree. Our Provost is expanding implicit bias training to get better search results.  Our last incoming faculty class was 10% Black, we will continue to expand diversity as searches come open.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
In a search meeting with the UNT President, when stating a slate of candidates we interviewed he referred to one of the candidates “the Black candidate” when he could not come up with the name of the candidate even though he knew the names of other candidates. How will the president engage himself in microagression training?

Response: The candidate search took place over a two-year period with more than 30 candidates reviewed during that time, and President Smatresk deeply regrets his response in struggling to recall the names of every candidate. He has committed to attending microaggression training.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The training offered by the UNT EDO on "Microaggressions and Inclusive Language" should be made mandatory for all faculty and staff!

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Anyone who works for UNT should be required to do the training. This includes search firms, adjunct faculty, workshop leaders, etc…

Response: This is a great suggestion, and one we are seriously considering.  

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As we tout the diversity of our student population and UNT’s stated goal of fostering a culture of inclusion, is there a plan to also diversify the President’s Cabinet which is almost exclusively white and majority male? Does the Cabinet acknowledge that this is a challenge? Is diversifying our leadership a goal for this administration?

Response: We are absolutely aware of the lack of diversity among our cabinet, and diversifying our leadership is a serious goal for our administration.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Black students rely on black staff and faculty to survive their experience at UNT. Black staff and faculty are never recognized or compensated for the extra time on and off the clock they spend supporting black students in addition to the students they are already serving as a part of their role/position on campus. Black faculty and staff are over worked and emotionally stretched because they carry the bulk of the load when it comes to support for black students.

Response: We agree that this is a huge problem, and there should be much more consideration given to the time faculty and staff of color devote to helping our campus be inclusive in committee and service work. The provost’s office has a project centered around the Evaluation of Service – in an effort to identify best practices for documenting service that is typically not documented and evaluated.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
After the Faculty Senate resolution supporting mandatory diversity training, the administration made noise of making changes, but nothing has happened.  When asked why, the response filtered down to the fact COVID took precedence.  As a large institution, serving our students of color should never take a back seat, and continued delay of these trainings should never be de-prioritized...   can you give a concrete timeline for these trainings to begin.

Response: The trainings have begun. They are proceeding rapidly in some units, and more slowly in others.  At this time everyone has taken the required bridge training, but more extensive trainings and discussions are going on all over campus. These trainings are still every bit a priority, but COVID has affected every aspect of our operations regardless of importance, including limiting our ability to offer the intensive, face-to-face trainings true change requires.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It is amazing to see that UNT is trying to "care" now about racial injustices on campus. When I reported a racial issue to my associate dean it was ignored and I was told it was not an issue. It was then reported to Equity and Diversity, Institutional Compliance and HR.  All three of these offices did nothing. They all said what I was reporting was not against any UNT policy.  Student employees have also reported these issues in our college and were told the same. Clearly UNT policies need to be re-evaluated.  When I attended the Microagressions training we were told to "call in" these people.  How many times can people be "called in" before the university needs to step in.

Response: We can certainly understand how frustrating that must feel. Without specific details, it’s difficult to give a substantive answer in this thread. If you can share some specifics with us at untpresident@unt.edu or diversity.inclusion@unt.edu, we can take a closer look at your report and explore ways to potentially improve UNT’s policies, programs and practices to create a more intentionally inclusive environment.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I have experienced lack listening support from supervisors within my department regarding involvement in alliance networks such as BFN and BPN and have been told to do it on my own time. How does the university support our staff and faculty to be involved in various area to support one another and our students?

Response: We agree that this is a huge problem, and there should be much more consideration given to the time faculty and staff of color devote to helping our campus be inclusive in committee and service work. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
What percentage of our staff members are black?

Response: 10%

Academic Affairs

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Have you considered having a diversity audit done on ALL curriculum to determine how Euro/White-centered reading and course materials are. This should be done by an independent party if possible

Response: This is an excellent option for a department to undertake as a group to review the whole curriculum to understand what our students are holistically learning - whose ideas are they exposed to and where are the gaps. As part of the professional development program for faculty - there will be a module about how to assess a syllabus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We have to actively pursue hiring more faculty of color. These students need to have to educators that can relate to their experience.

Response: Absolutely - we must continue to diversify our faculty.

Question/Comment (Jacqueline Vickery):
Anecdotally, I am aware of numerous faculty of color who have left UNT in the past few years because they did not feel supported and/or were not being recognized/fairly compensated/promoted. Is UNT tracking this data beyond anecdotes? What is UNT planning to do to not just create more training sessions, but to actively support, promote, compensate faculty of color, many of whom have shared that they take on extra emotional labor and mentorship roles without any recognition or compensation. Or, best case, this extra labor is viewed as "service" but it's so much more than that (and we all know service rarely leads to actual material compensation).

Response: This needs to change. We agree it is a problem.  Yes, we are tracking faculty separations with more than just anecdotal data.  Exit interviews for separating faculty are conducted jointly by the Office of Faculty Success and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.  

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Thank you for your question Danielle, I have brought this up many times as well. All evidence demonstrates that students aren't in the subject position to effectively evaluate pedagogy. SPOTs only evaluate students *satisfaction* with instructors, not effective curriculum and pedagogy. Data demonstrates that the evals are biased against BIPOC. I would like to see SPOTS no longer used in RPTC committees. I understand that students want a voice and feedback, but why does an entire committee need to consider unreliable data that is continually proven to be biased?

Response: The state requires that we undertake these evaluations. Keep in mind that departments have the option to add additional questions to the survey instrument. In addition, departments are to engage in holistic review of faculty teaching. With that in mind, the answer may lie in requiring raised standards for departments that go well beyond the required SPOT evaluations, so everyone is engaging in the preferred holistic review process.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Will there be any university initiatives to support the surrounding D/FW area?  For example, South Dallas houses three of the largest Black majority school districts in the state (De Soto, Lancaster, and Cedar Hills).

Response: Thank you for your suggestion. The College of Education has a number of initiatives in diverse school districts.

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
I guess I am wondering whether black experiences and perspectives are systematically presented in American history courses.

Response: The experiences and perspectives of BIPOC are included in courses taught in the Department of History at UNT and in many other courses, including those that comprise the African American minor.

See the following list of representative courses:

  • GEOG/HIST/PHIL
  • ANTH 4885/4261/4960
  • 2070 Antiracist Thought
  • Introduction to Race and Ethnic Relations
  • ANTH 3130 African American Anthropology
  • ANTH 4550 Race, Ethnicity and Identity
  • CJUS 3500 Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice
  • ECON 3150 Economics of Discrimination
  • EDEE 2000 Exploring Diversity Through Social Action
  • ENGL 3920 Ethnic American Literatures
  • ENGL 4260 African American Literature
  • HIST 4114 Race and Gender in British Imperial Wars 1830 - present
  • HIST 4245 Gender, Race and Class Issues in Middle Eastern History
  • HIST 4440 African American History and Culture to 1865
  • HIST 4450 African American History and Culture Since 1865
  • HIST 4451 African American History During Segregation Era
  • HIST 4461 Gender, Race, Class and Policy since World War II
  • JOUR 4250 Race, Gender and the Media: A Methods Approach

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How many Black faculty are part of the African American history minor? Who is running that program? What courses are offered? As a Black faculty member I have looked at that minor and it is unacceptable, considering the number of students we have and compared to other universities. By just saying that you already have this minor is ignoring the necessity of needing a dedicated Black studies major and program that is fully funded and supported by the university.

Response: The African American studies minor is housed in the department of History. A new faculty member is starting this summer, who holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and has responsibility for reviewing the minor and making recommendations for revisions.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The University needs more African-American Studies courses. Do we have any?

Response: Yes, UNT has African American Studies courses that are part of an interdisciplinary minor in African American Studies housed in the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS).  For more information, see the following website:  https://www.unt.edu/academics/undergrad/interdisciplinary-minors. In addition, there are more than 100 courses that are directly related African, African-American and Black studies in colleges across the university.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I have been in meetings with search firms on on campus who have stated they can ask the questions we as search members cannot ask. When I asked specifically what these questions were, the firm stated they could ask if the candidate was caring for a family member or their marital status, etc…I have brought this to the attention of the office of the CDO and was told they (the search firm) were having a bad day. The issue was simply brushed under the rug. I can confirm this as a after the meeting with the search committee a colleague of mine was still asked these questions about family and relate to culture were asked of them. These questions should not be allowed. If we are truly keeping searches to the standards that we and commitments to diversity and equity you have stated moving forward, will standards of race, diversity, equity and Inclusion be applied to search firms the University contracts with? And how will they be held accountable?  What does the accountability look like?

Response from Provost Cowley: I hire search firms within the academic affairs division. I can tell you that I have let go of search firms whose search strategies do not align with the values we have as an institution. I have actively sought out firms that have a stronger track record in diverse hiring.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I am not a tenured faculty member. Can I vocalize my beliefs on social media in support of BLM without fear of some sort of repercussions? Can my department also vocalize that they stand behind Black Lives Matter? It’s been incredibly unclear of what we as a university staff member can or cannot do, or if that is what this University stands behind.

Response: Yes, you can voice your support of BLM without fear of retaliation by the university. Yes, your department can vocalize that they stand behind Black Lives Matter. Some departments, colleges, and deans at UNT have already done so. We understand there was confusion on this topic, and our VP of University Brand Strategy and Communications spoke with the deans to clarify.

Question/Comment (Jeanette Hickl):
How are we revamping our curriculum to teach racial awareness, where recognition of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity in the classroom informs teaching strategies?

Response from Provost Cowley: I strongly encourage every department to discuss curriculum, as well as professional development regarding how to integrate diversity into the classroom as part of the faculty professional development program. Note there are many classes on racism, race, ethnicity and cultural competencies. There are great examples across the university. And a number of colleges and departments have actively undertaken these efforts, the College of Music serves as one example. We can, and should, learn from one another and constantly seek ways to improve.

Question/Comment (Jacqueline Vanhoutte):
Have you thought about reallocating resources to ensure better/more effective teaching at this university, given the students reports on classroom experience? In addition to hiring more faculty of color, the horrifying student experience involving my own department (I am chair of English)  reported on the #blackatUNT thread suggests we should also reconsider our reliance on adjunct labor. The professor in question was an adjunct who taught in my department for one term.  It would be easy to blame this person as an individual.  But the fact that she was teaching is the result of a systemic problem—namely, our reliance on underpaid, overworked, under-vetted, and comparatively undertrained adjuncts. While we have some wonderful individual adjuncts in my department, adjuncts taught classes as  a category generate most of the student complaints like this.  And the effects of this less than optimal teaching fall disproportionally on students of color, as the thread amply illustrates. What can we do about this?

 

Response: Beginning this fall, we will be providing a mandatory faculty professional development program centered on diversity and inclusion. This a joint effort of Faculty Senate, Faculty Success, and Institutional Equity and Diversity. During the summer, the Office of Faculty Success met with various groups of students, staff, faculty, and administrators with the desire to create a developmental learning plan focused specifically on our needs surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Together, we developed a collaborative plan for faculty, academic administrators, and academic staff, the Anti-Bias and Cultural Awareness Program. The plan will serve as a foundation for facilitating an inclusive, affirming, and equitable environment for our Mean Green Family and the diverse communities we serve.

In the weeks ahead, we will launch a series of activities that are developmental, comprehensive and fluid. We see these learning and engagement opportunities as an integral component of professional development for our UNT family. One way for participants to fulfill the fall 2020 training requirements is to attend one of the three guest speakers that Faculty Success will host. All of these presentations will be virtual and held via Zoom. Below are the dates for the guest speakers:

  • 11/6 – Dr. Amer Ahmed
  • 11/16 – Nolan Cabrera
  • 12/11 – Jasmine Lee

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The few token faculty of color face discrimination not just in hiring, but also in evaluations and promotions - UNT can do better

Response: The revisions to promotion and tenure guidelines have improved the clarity of requirements for promotion reducing bias in evaluation. There is more work to be done in ensuring that annual reviews and promotion result in our faculty being treated fairly.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I wonder if we could have extra training for international faculty. When interacting with colleagues from other countries, it feels like they don’t get it. The problems of racism in America have a long history that gets covered over by the message we present to the world about being a “meritocracy.” We are multicultural in a way that citizens of other countries may not of experienced. The make weird microaggression statements, I think because they don’t understand the problems.

Response: This is a good suggestion, and the Provost, International office and Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity will work on it.

Question/Comment (JiYoung Kim):
Get the dept chairs, assoc Deans, and Deans to take training, tell them what to say and not to say. I heard many comments that are offensive to my gender and race, but the person thought they were being "friendly". I know they didn't mean harm but still it is not sensitive.

Response: All faculty administrators will be participating in the mandatory professional development program launching this fall. Diversity and Inclusion is a regular component in leadership programming. Clearly we need to continue our efforts.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
All nine faculty hires in our department were white.

Response: We are well aware that diversity among our faculty and staff is a significant problem, and are actively working to address our recruiting and hiring strategies to improve on this.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I think a course on African American studies would be ideal. So when the question is asked "why do black people still bring up slavery" Students can get the real history and why it still effect black people today.

Response: We have a wide range of courses in the university that address race from many different perspectives, history being one example. There is a minor in African-American studies housed in the department of history.

Question/Comment (Amanda Vickery):
I would like a panelist to speak to the recommendation by students and the Black Faculty Network to create a Black studies program. Black studies provides a safe space for not only Black students to learn about our her/histories and issues relevant to the Black diaspora. This is a necessary space and program that is needed on this campus.

Response: We have a minor in African American Studies. In addition there are numerous applicable courses across multiple disciplines.

Just a few examples of courses on racism/antiracism:

  • GEOG/HIST/PHIL
  • ANTH 4885/4261/4960
  • 2070 Antiracist Thought
  • Introduction to Race and Ethnic Relations
  • ANTH 3130 African American Anthropology
  • ANTH 4550 Race, Ethnicity and Identity
  • CJUS 3500 Diversity Issues in Criminal Justice
  • ECON 3150 Economics of Discrimination
  • EDEE 2000 Exploring Diversity Through Social Action
  • ENGL 3920 Ethnic American Literatures
  • ENGL 4260 African American Literature
  • HIST 4114 Race and Gender in British Imperial Wars 1830 – present
  • HIST 4245 Gender, Race and Class Issues in Middle Eastern History
  • HIST 4440 African American History and Culture to 1865
  • HIST 4450 African American History and Culture Since 1865
  • HIST 4451 African American History During Segregation Era
  • HIST 4461 Gender, Race, Class and Policy since World War II
  • JOUR 4250 Race, Gender and the Media: A Methods Approach

Faculty Contributions in Supporting Students

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can faculty get recognized for supporting students in their tenureship conversation? Black and Latinx faculty have an additional tax that a lot of other faculty don't have.

Question/Comment (Priscilla Ybarra):
Could you speak to the additional labor by faculty of color who serve in various capacities across campus, including many search committees, to help UNT work toward racial equity on campus? What can UNT do to help support these faculty who take on these extra labor?

Question/Comment (anonymous):
My Black colleagues engage in an immeasurable amount of emotional & intellectual labor mentoring BIPOC students, from undergraduate to graduate students. Oftentimes it is comforting & consoling students when other faculty microaggress (an understatement when we consider the violence inflicted on them [eg #BlackatUNT]). When it comes to tenure and promotion, none of this matters, and I hate to see it quantified, but how can tenure & promotion processes account for this? Furthermore, how can tenure & promotion processes be humanizing, in this way as well as when P&T committees are composed of individuals who have engaged in consistently pathological racist behaviors, across multiple contexts for over a decade or more, in some cases? Senior faculty who consistently write inappropriate, violent dissent letters about accomplished junior scholars, targeting in particular Black scholars, are not censored. Rather they have a platform to enact their aggression. There has to be oversight of these processes.

Response: Beginning this fall, we will be providing a mandatory faculty professional development program centered on diversity and inclusion. This is a joint effort of Faculty Senate, Faculty Success, and Institutional Equity and Diversity. I can say one of my projects this year is around the Evaluation of Service. We know that there is service work that is happening that goes undocumented - yet are substantial time commitments that support our goals. The University of Maryland has a great example of research that has been done on this topic – you can see https://facultyworkloadandrewardsproject.umd.edu/. I have personally read all of the literature cited in this project. I am hopeful that we can find a path forward to better capture and document our faculty's contributions.

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
I am wondering who typically enrolls in black studies programs. If those programs are viewed as only or primarily for black students they may not do much to address the racial biases that have been evident before the murder of George Floyd due to COVID-19.

Response: This is an opportunity to reflect on your own curriculum. How is diversity and inclusion addressed? How are you and your fellow faculty ensuring that your students have the cultural competencies to become the professionals they need to be? A black studies program is one avenue to support our students’ interests, however not the only avenue in which we must ensure our students have the education they need.

Questions Related to Faculty Hiring

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We need TRUE REFORM of how faculty search committees operate. It is nearly impossible to get a diverse group of candidates here for an interview.  Candidates for faculty positions exist within this country- but are not sought.

Response: We are open to recommendations on how search committees could be reconstituted and how they would operate.

Response from James Jackson: There are three Faculty Search Committee Trainings that were offered this summer and several more are available this fall. Sign up on Bridge! https://unt.bridgeapp.com/learner/calendar?date=2020-06-03&liveCourseId=165

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Faculty are not always responsible for the hiring of new faculty. These decisions are directly impacted by the Deans and Provost.

Response: Correct, there are multiple stakeholders engaged in the hiring process. However, faculty have a key role in recruiting and hiring of new faculty, and hiring is a shared responsibility.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We as a university are falling woefully short in terms of black faculty representation.  For over 20 years, for example, I have been the only black faculty member in my department.  In addition, the black representation among UNT administration is even worse.  What are we doing to change this?  All of our students, not just black students, need to see more black faces at the front of the classroom.  And within the administration.  And within the staff.  We must do better!

Response: We agree. We must continue to change the demographics of our faculty. To provide some perspective, UNT has the highest concentration of black faculty of any R1 university in Texas. Our hiring of black faculty is at a rate higher than the proportion of Black doctorates awarded. Yet our numbers are moving slowly. Six percent of faculty identify as Black. This past academic year 10% of the faculty who joined UNT identified as Black.  On the staff side 10% of our staff are Black. We realize this still is not reflective of our community and not enough.

As for administration, we must continue to create change. We have expanded the availability of leadership development programs, and changed the search firms we work with to aid in bringing more diverse pools of leadership candidates. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I believe the problem of the underrepresentation of Black and Latinx faculty is a big one. 60 Black faculty out of 1130 faculty at UNT? I doubt that the Latinx faculty to Latinx student ratio is much better. One part of this problem is hiring. Another is retention. How are we doing on that? This does not apply to me in any way (I am not black, Latinx or tenure-track for that matter), but it seems to me that this is a good time to review the files of faculty carefully (including those who have been denied tenure recently). This is something specific that departments and administrators can do.

Response: During that same academic year (2018-2019), there were 70 Latinx faculty. That is just 6.2% compared to our Latinx student population representing almost 25% of our student population.

There are 69 black faculty members, 6% compared to 16% of our student population.

Approximately 4-6% of our faculty leave the university each year, roughly half are due to retirement.

We absolutely agree we must continue to change the demographics of our faculty, and have been actively working to do so.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why is there no Latinx Faculty Network? What is the percentage of Latinx Faculty, vs Latinx students? We are an HSI now, so our Latinx students and Latinx faculty need to be a priority, just like our African American students and African American faculty.

Response: There is a LatinX faculty and staff alliance called UNete. It is led by several faculty and staff including Javier Rodriquez, Marilu Howard and Priscilla Ybarra. You can learn more about them at https://edo.unt.edu/become-member-unete.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
UNeTe is a Faculty/Staff alliance, not a Latinx Faculty Network, and it requires membership and payment to join. This is simply not the same as a Latinx Faculty Network that specifically addresses faculty issues, under the office of the Provost. UNeTe is under the Division of E & D, and again requires paid membership. We need a Latinx Faculty Network, which operates like the WFN or the BFN.

Response: If you have not already, please reach out to Bertina.Combes@unt.edu our Vice Provost of Faculty Success to discuss a Latinx Faculty Network.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How many black department chairs are there Dr Cowley?

Response: Of the 57 total number of chairs , there are four black department chairs, and two who identify as multi-racial.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How many black/latinx department chairs are currently employed at the institution?

Response: Of the 57 total department chairs, there are four Black, three Hispanic, one Native American, 13 Asian, two multi-racial and two who have not identified their race/ethnicity in the HR system.

Question/Comment (Shahla Alai):
Would it be possible to have data over time presented - number of black faculty interviewed, hired per year? Number promoted, number denied tenure and reason categories, number that left and reason reported? It feels like we have lost a lot of really good faculty or they have been denied tenure. It would be good to have a yearly data path to see what direction we are moving.

Response: Our move to a new HR hiring system will more easily enable the ability to document number of faculty applied, interviewed and hired. Last year this information for the year was shared with all department chairs. Data on the exit survey of departing faculty is available on the Faculty Success website. A cohort analysis of promotion and tenure is also in the workplan for academic resources for this academic year.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I appreciate the provost’s comment about faculty responsibility for hiring Black faculty and POC. That’s true. But how do junior faculty like myself help shape that process in a department where senior faculty don’t demonstrate a shared system of values on the potential contributions from Black and non-Black POC faculty, but maybe see this as ‘just another diversity hiring’ initiative? How can administration support committees to have strong voices that represent commitments to diversity?

Response: One of the important shifts in thinking that needs to happen is the idea of replacing specific courses or specific research specializations in a given year. What are the needs of a department over a multi-year period, what are the values that are shared by the department? How do these get represented in position descriptions? This creates the opportunity for expanded search areas, creating larger pools of candidates, and increases the opportunities to demonstrate a commitment to diversity. This combined with search committee training, transparent and open dialogue where all are encouraged to participate – supports a productive search process.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can we do target searches?

Response: Targets of opportunity are possible, but on a case-by-case basis.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How many of our Black or Latinx faculty are tenure line, verses lecturers?
18 black faculty are lecturer track, 2 clinical track, 2 visiting professors, 51 tenure track
17 Hispanic faculty are lecturer track, 1 clinical track, 2 visiting professors, 54 tenure track

Question/Comment (anonymous):
With regard to the (relatively) strong diversity of our PhD programs, does this derive primarily from international students? International students are awesome! But the issue at hand today is better addressed by representation from underrepresented American minorities. The PhD Project is an excellent example of an organization promoting representation in business faculty.

Response: Domestic/International varies by academic program. Thank you for suggesting a resource.

Question/Comment (Valerie Martinez-Ebers):
I think the university does a fairly good job of recruiting and hiring faculty of color.  However, we lose FOC many times as soon as they get tenure.  I know we lost 3 wonderful faculty recently tenured FOC because there was no real effort to retain them.

Response: Retention options are available to all departments. In some cases we have been effective in retaining our talented faculty. In other cases, we did not go far enough in supporting retention.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I took the training for faculty hiring.  It was loud and clear that hiring committees cannot discriminate based on race, but there was no training on aggressive pursuit of diverse hires.

Response: Thank you for the suggestion on an opportunity to improve our faculty search committee training.  We plan to include additional information for search committees on unconscious bias in the search process and affirmatively engaging in creating diverse hiring pools from which to choose qualified candidates for faculty positions.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As a recent Black doctoral graduate of UNT, I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room: working to bring more students of color into a graduate program where many of them will experience abuses and power dysfunction, then further experience racism from faculty and staff without impunity will not fix this. Bringing new people into a broken system just means creating more broken people.

Response: The graduate school will be promoting a reporting hotline for use by graduate students who experience abusive behavior.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Where are Faculty Senate and The Provost in ratifying the resolution for faculty training on DEI?

Response: In December senate voted on a resolution for mandatory faculty training. Since that time representatives from Faculty Senate, Faculty Success and Institutional Equity & Diversity have been partnering in developing the program, which will commence this fall.

Student Affairs

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Another participant brought up the inadequate funding for CTS. I believe that UNT is not meeting national standards for the counselor to student ratio on university campuses. What is UNT doing to increase funding for CTS to ensure that our students are able to receive essential counseling services?

Response: We have had a national consultant review the Counseling and Testing Center and are currently reviewing those recommendations. Counselors have been added over the last few years and creative solutions have been explored including creating part-time positions that can be utilized during the fall and spring semesters when we see the bulk of our clients.  Additionally, C&T has modified its model so that there is no longer a waiting list for students and has not been for over the last year.  With all of that said, there are still opportunities for improvement and we will continue to explore more.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Will the Orientation office be implementing a cultural competency training for first year students? If so, who was in the room when this training was decided on and was there ANY people of color in the room when making decisions for the training

Response: Orientation and Transition Programs has contracted with a vendor to offer diversity and inclusion training to all new undergraduate students at UNT this fall. Students will complete this training throughout the summer, similar to UNT’s alcohol and sexual assault trainings. Follow-up with students will occur during First Flight and within a pilot First-Year Seminar course this fall.

Additionally, the Orientation and Transitions Programs office worked with SGA leadership during the late fall and early spring to select the diversity training module for students.  They reviewed several options and yes, persons of color from both SGA and OTP were involved in the review and the decision-making.

Question/Comment (La Keisha Leonard):
What support and/or interventions are available to faculty/staff that experience micro-aggressions from students?

Response: There are some suggested strategies for interrupting microaggressions when they occur in the classroom and/or workplace. Our Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity offers a wonderful training that explores the impact of language on climate and discusses ways to correct and interrupt offensive language. Learn more or register here:  https://edo.unt.edu/open-enrollment-trainings

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As we continue to develop diversity councils across campus, will there be some sort of criteria in place when choosing members? Currently the division of Student Affairs has one but the members are randomly chosen by the chair without any type of criteria or needed expertise. The councils should also take on deeper issues rather than watching videos on Linkedin.

Response: The Diversity Council within the Division of Student Affairs has an application process that is evaluated by the co-chairs. All staff are encouraged to apply with the support of their supervisor.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It's confusing to hear that the President wants to beef up Counseling and Testing, when cuts to Counseling and Testing positions have just been made, including one of the clinicians whose focus is Black Mental Health. What is the truth?

Response: There have been no cuts to Counseling and Testing. The director, Dr. Tamara Knapp-Grosz, has worked over the last several years to create a model that best supports the needs of our students. This past year, several full-time positions were each converted to two part-time positions in order to provide more counselor contact hours for our students.  The net result is more counselors available to our students during high volume times. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I would like the university to make a statement that they do not promote the use of TX SB18 (https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/SB18/2019) for hate speech or any racist, sexist, ext. rhetoric by our visitors. Students on #BlackatUNT feel targeted by these individuals and they want some type of response from the university. While there is little we can do legally to those visitors, the current environment cannot continue as it is. Something needs to be done, and maybe that includes talking to our legislation as a university about how this law is affecting our campus and our students.

Response: The Division of Student Affairs is creating a Task Force on Free Speech and Racist Statements to be held in the fall. This group, led by the DOS office and OGC, will consist of faculty, staff, and students who will discuss the interaction of these two issues, possible legal implications, and explore ways to better educate the campus community of the impact of SB18.

Question/Comment (Jacqueline Vickery):
In addition to hiring more counselors, what about deploying counselors to address distressed students, rather than armed officers?

Response: Each situation is unique and a police presence may sometimes be required but our Counseling Department is always available to serve our students in distress when it is appropriate. In certain situations, counselors are the ones requesting police assistance. UNT PD has pursued additional training to certify all officers as Mental Health Peace Officers in an effort to better serve the community’s needs in these cases. There have been specific situations where the quick response time and training from UNT PD resulted in saving a life that otherwise would have been lost. This, among other reasons, is why UNT PD is a part of the CARE Team and works closesly with counseling and the Dean of Students with the primary goal of keeping students safe.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why are students of color (in reality, all students) paying athletic fees to support million dollar and bloated salaries of white male coaches, especially now during COVID-19. Have any of these individuals accepted a reduction in pay as has happened at other universities?

Reallocate funds from athletic coaches and directors to student support services. Change is possible. UNT must be willing for it to happen.

Response: Athletic fees support student athletes. Athletics gives opportunities for learning in a way that the typical classroom simply cannot mirror. Through stringent practice, student athletes learn the terminologies of the sport they are participating in, as well as the concepts coaches are teaching them, to be successful on the athletic venue and in life.  UNT athletic coaches and directors continue to support student athletes during COVID-19.  To date, no employees at UNT have been asked to accept a reduction in pay.

Institutional Equity and Diversity

Question/Comment (Liz Cosgrove Ford):
When will Climate Survey results be shared and will perspectives be shared by race and ethnicity?

Response: The climate survey results for students, faculty, staff and administrators are posted on the website of the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity. Individuals can join the Campus Climate for Inclusion Webinar with VP of Institutional Equity & Diversity, Joanne Woodard, and Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Shani Barrax Moore, on Oct. 12, 2020, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. The presentation will include a breakdown of some of the headlines from the climate survey results as well as a discussion on next steps with a Q&A session following.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
gay middle eastern groups we are not represented either. and i have had many encounters. i would love to be represented and supported

Response: Thank you for sharing. Today's focus is specifically about our black faculty and staff. We will be hosting future conversations on diversity and inclusion.  You can also reach out to the Pride Alliance, UNT’s gender and sexuality resource center and a safe and welcoming space for all.  For more information on the Pride Alliance see: https://edo.unt.edu/pridealliance.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Will UNT release the complete results of the Climate Survey?

Response: Yes, the results of the Campus Climate for Inclusion Survey are posted on the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity website. All of the results were made available by August 2020 or earlier. Look for the results on the website of Institutional Equity & Diversity.  First to be posted are the climate survey reports for student respondents and staff respondents. Next will be the administrator respondents.  Last to be posted will be the faculty climate survey results in August 2020.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
as a person from the middle eastern. i feel like we all need to work together. i got my hair touched to see how soft it was. i got asked question that were not ok to be asked. and those were not by white individuals only. we all need to learn and welcoming to everyone.

Response: We agree, which is why we support training for all members of the UNT community.  Please contact the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity for assistance. While we encourage members of the UNT community to learn more about other people and cultures, there are appropriate ways to engage with members of our community. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We need more training on how to be a good white ally without diminishing POC voices. I understand there probably is no checklist or easy answer, but there are faculty and staff who want to do what they can so that they are not part of the problem, but are unsure what to do to be an ally both at work and in the world.

Response: Diversity and Inclusion within the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity offers an “Unlikely Allies” dialogue-based program that brings together people of color and Caucasian/White employees for intragroup and intergroup dialogue to develop bonding and bridging capital.  The intergroup discussions include perspectives of white allyship and accompliceship at UNT.  We would welcome your participation in our workshops and programs that focus on being allies and accomplices.  Please contact the Diversity and Inclusion, and encourage others to as well, to find out you can be part of the solution.  Please send your comments and/or questions to Diversity.Inclusion@unt.edu.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Please stop putting all the emotional labor and tax on Joanne Woodard and her office. Start by creating positions for diversity and inclusion in different areas so its not on the back of 10 people.

Response: Some UNT colleges and divisions have created or are creating Diversity and Inclusion Councils who will work with Shani Barrax Moore in Diversity and Inclusion to identify appropriate strategies and programs to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in each college and division.  Units that have created diversity and inclusion councils include:  Division of Student Affairs, College of Music, College of Business, College of Education, College of Health and Public Service, College of Engineering, College of Science, and the College of Information.  Other units such as the College of Visual Art and Design and the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation are currently forming councils.  Information about Diversity and Inclusion Councils at UNT (membership, charge, initiatives) will be posted on the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity’s website.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Some students deliberately lash out at women faculty of color on SPOT evaluations, destroying their legitimacy, credibility and advancement.  Can UNT be more fair to these faculty?

Response: Promotion and tenure guidelines request that faculty have holistic review of faculty. Student evaluations are known to have biases and should not be the sole basis of evaluation of teaching.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It can be difficult to "show-up" and be present/productive at work when one is experiencing racial trauma. It can also be hard to discuss the impacts of social injustice/racial trauma  with superiors in the work environment. Is sensitivity training included in supervisory or faculty training? If not, can this be implemented to provide superiors with tools and methods for how to approach and engage in these conversations with Black employees? It may help superiors be more prepared to navigate that space.

Response: Diversity and Inclusion partners with Organizational Development and Engagement (ODE) to provide “Creating Intentionally Inclusive Workplaces” as part of the New Supervisor’s Orientation.  There are opportunities for all employees at UNT to engage in Awareness Workshops on topics such as cultural humility, bias awareness and perceptions, and inclusive excellence.  Supervisors can request such training for their team members and themselves.  See the full listing of current diversity and inclusion training available at UNT:  https://edo.unt.edu/list-available-trainings.

UNT Police

Questions Related to Police Training

Question/Comment (anonymous):
With the incident in January, what are the Denton and campus police doing as far as training to interact with a someone that shows aggression that may be stemmed by a mental illness?

Response: The UNT Police Dept. trains in mental health response and de-escalation. These trainings include bringing outside experts in to train our officers. We also participate in UNT’s CARE Team which is run out of the Dean of Student’s Office. The mission of the CARE Team is to:

  • Assist in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the students and members of the UNT community.
  • Support student success.
  • Provide a comprehensive response to students whose behavior could be harmful to themselves or others.

Most of our officers are also certified Mental Health Peace Officers. This process requires both police officer experience and additional training. Our goal is to have every UNT officer certified as a Mental Health Peace Officer. It’s important for us to take this extra step to ensure we are serving our community.

Question/Comment (Angie Cartwright):
Does UNTPD have to do mandatory diversity and implicit bias training?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Do UNT PD officers receive implicit bias training, and participate in discussions of how US culture makes police see non-existent threats?

Response: Yes, the police department engages in mandatory diversity and implicit bias training. In addition, supervisors regularly review all officers’ interactions and randomly selected body cam footage to proactively look for any potentially negative patterns or habits and address any issues early.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
One weekend, my White colleague and I, who were working on a collaborative project in a coffee shop, realized we forgot to bring some materials from our respective offices but did not have our office keys. He called UNT’s police department saying that the two of us needed to access our individual offices in the same building but different floors. The police officer opened the office suite for the White guy but asked me 5-8 questions including my UNT ID before agreeing to open my office door. When will the UNT police be properly trained?

Response: The UNT Police Department conducts diversity training every year or two. However, if there is ever a concern with the conduct of an officer, we strongly encourage the community to reach out to us. Call our office at 940-565-3000 and ask to speak to a supervisor. Or, call the UNT Office of Equal Opportunity. Our officers wear body cameras so that we can properly review any incident in question.

Question/Comment (K Roberts):
I would like to know who advises during the simulated training sessions that police hold. It seems to me that medical personnel would be very helpful since they often work to deescalate situations with individuals under a variety of circumstances and they don't really use weapons or chokeholds or other brutal methods to make that happen. Might be useful to get a new perspective.

Response: We do train often with those outside of law enforcement, including those in the mental health profession. Our officers also train in de-escalation and many of are certified Mental Health Peace Officers. Also, we don’t train in chokeholds.

General Police Questions

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The UNT Police are out of control. They harrass Black students and other students of color, as well as staff and faculty. They also do NOT serve faculty of any color who are victims of neo-nazi stalking etc on this campus (this happened to me, and I'm white, and I'm not the only one.) They need to be radically restructured/defunded. Also, white faculty MUST be trained extensively so that the racist hate spewed at students, as well as microaggressions and other racist behaviors that we see on #BlackatUNT, are stopped!

Response: The UNT Police Department takes complaints of stalking and harassment very seriously. We encourage those who are victims of these crimes to file a report. In some instances, the actions may not constitute criminal behavior. In those cases, there may be other recourses such as working with Human Resources, the Dean of Students and other key groups on campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We have had many instances of white supremacy on campus. Flyers have been posted on numerous occassions and events have taken place, like “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” many years ago that specifically dehumanize and ask for the persecution of Black and Latinx students. When is the university and campus PD  going to investigate, publicly share the results of such investigations, and hold those who commit acts of hate accountable?

Response: The UNT Police Department investigates all criminal complaints reported to the department. Follow-up to those investigations are provided to the complainants. Often times flyers posted are not illegal and considered protected speech. In instances where a law has not been broken, the issue is referred to the appropriate department, which may include the Dean of Students Office.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can the university create a community review board for UNTPD that engages faculty, staff, and students? I have witnessed a number of times that UNTPD has targeted Black students and other students of color and there seems to be little reprucssion for their actions. This is similar to a request students have made on different occassions during during the ongoing protests and I believe this is a change that would be recognizable by the student population.

Response: During the town hall, President Smatresk and Chief Reynolds discussed forming a UNT Police Advisory Board. President Smatresk has since appointed a police advisory committee. The committee is charged with recommending best practices for the UNT Police Department.

Any time a member of our community witnesses what they believe to be inappropriate behavior from a police department, they may contact the department and ask to speak with a supervisor. Also, according to UNT policy, an individual who believes that they have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should immediately report the incident to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Students may also report such conduct to the Office of the Dean of Students. Also, employees and individuals authorized to act on behalf of the University who become aware of specific and credible allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation are required to report the suspected violations to OEO immediately. All complaints that fall in to these categories that are received by the police department are forwarded to OEO for investigation.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Police presence makes me unsafe. Due to heavy police presence, I only come to campus when required, i.e. teaching class, dept meetings, and office hours. As one of the few Black faculty members, I would like to be more present for my students, but heavy police presence prevents me from doing so. QUESTION: Will the President commit to creating a commission, comprised in part of Black faculty and administrators, that is tasked with investigating how to divest from/defund the police department and reinvest in inclusion/diversity practices and other means of cultivating a healthy and safe campus?

Response: The UNT Police Deptartment focuses on community policing to ensure our officers get to know students, faculty, staff and their needs. We understand others’ experiences may lead them to feel uncomfortable around police. We encourage community members to reach out to us to get to know us. They can set up a meeting with the police chief or work with one of our partners on campus, such as the Dean of Students, to help make that connection.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Staff and faculty are reminded and encouraged during semester start up meetings to contact the police to handled so many situations - students being disruptive or appearing to be in distress. What else can we do before resorting to calling police? Another thing, can we allocate more funds towards counseling and testing services for mental health? My students regularly tell me that the CTS are regularly so swamped that they can’t even get an appointment until several weeks later.

Response: We contracted with a national consultant to review the Counseling & Testing Center to assess strengths and weaknesses, staffing model, identify efficiencies, and any other suggestions or changes that help to better support our student population.  We are currently working through recommendations, including staffing recommendations.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can we have a training on free speech and how that intersects with these topics? Where is the line, legally, and how can we best identify/report situations which are clearly over the line? Many are frustrated because there is not understanding regarding the restrictions and freedoms under free speech laws.

Response: This is a great idea. Free speech protects the rights of individuals whose voices may be muted and whose opinions may be in disfavor at a particular time in our history. But often, what appears to cross the line is the very speech the First Amendment is intended to protect, as hurtful and disappointing as the words and other expressions may be. Our Office of General Counsel has agreed to participate in or help coordinate any events or series the faculty senate and staff council would like to set up to discuss this important topic.   

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Do we have any Black police officers?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
When or will the police department be diversified? This is a simple potential solution to many problems regarding discrimination and racism?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
It was not encouraging to hear Chief Reynolds offer excuses about why the UNT PD is not more diverse: “It is tough to recruit for this job.” If there are recruitment challenges, perhaps these should be addressed instead of just accepting the status quo.

Response: Yes, we do. Recruiting candidates that reflect the diversity of our university community is important to us. Ten percent of our officers are Black. Additionally, over half of our officers themselves are UNT graduates and we continue to recruit through UNT classes and organizations. We think our efforts are paying off, five of the last ten officers hired by the UNT Police Dept. are people of color.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Could we get an analysis of the types of calls UNT PD get? If we see a pattern in the type of calls they respond to, can we give more support to resources for other departments and programs that could help with those roles.

Response: The UNT Police Deptartment maintains a 60-day crime log on their website at police.unt.edu. That can give a picture of recent crimes. For a general overview, they report crimes required under the Clery Act in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which can be found at clery.unt.edu.

Questions Related to Defunding the Police

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Is UNT willing to take a look at what it would mean to DEFUND/DIVEST from UNT PD? That is the current ask at a local and national level. When we say #BlackLivesMatter we need to know how that looks beyond diversity trainings.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
The police brutality against the Black community is not because of a “few bad apples” or “failure of leadership”. It is a structure, a system, rooted in white supremacy. Is someone going to bring up the recommendation of defunding the police and instead funding multicultural counseling?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Does UNT Administration understand the position of "Defund the police" the students are pushing as opposed to the inflammatory misunderstanding present over the past week?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Please, someone bring up the idea to decrease funding from UNTPD.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Yes, folks have been saying “DEFUND THE POLICE” repeatedly. They are telling you what it partially means to be radical.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Will the UNT police department be de funded?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
We don’t need more minority officers. We need some of the funding used to pay for PD trainings to instead be invested in expert and community resources to address issues of mental health, immigration, and forms of cultural and economic violence. We can invest that funding into hiring faculty of color, counselors, scholarships for students color etc.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why would we go to the police ABOUT the police. That makes no sense. We need a third party- apart from UNT- to look at ALL the reports that come from the police.  We need to defund the police.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Radical change = defund UNTPD

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Defunding the police department is radical change. Can we do that?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Defunding the police is a radical change that is completely do-able.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Radical change will work. We can start by defunding the police.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The police brutality against the Black community is not because of a “few bad apples” or “failure of leadership”. It is a structure, a system, rooted in white supremacy. Is someone going to bring up the recommendation of defunding the police and instead funding multicultural counseling?

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Yes, folks have been saying “DEFUND THE POLICE” repeatedly. They are telling you what it partially means to be radical.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Won’t it be a lot easier to recruit once the current policing model is replaced with a community policing model?

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We don’t need more minority officers. We need some of the funding used to pay for PD trainings to instead be invested in expert and community resources to address issues of mental health, immigration, and forms of cultural and economic violence. We can invest that funding into hiring faculty of color, counselors, scholarships for students color etc.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Please, someone bring up the idea to decrease funding from UNTPD.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Is UNT willing to take a look at what it would mean to DEFUND/DIVEST from UNT PD? That is the current ask at a local and national level. When we say #BlackLivesMatter we need to know how that looks beyond diversity trainings.

Response: We understand the goals of the national movement for defunding police. However, it is not necessarily applicable to a university police department such as ours. The movement calls for reducing what some consider bloated police budgets and investing those dollars into increased social and mental health services.

For UNT, however, the police department already functions on what would be considered a lean budget, meaning there is no cash reserve to move elsewhere. In addition, the department operates in a holistic, community-centric way with the university version of those same social and mental health services, so they are already supporting the areas the initiative is calling for funding to support. For example, UNT Police work closely with the Dean of Students and Counseling & Testing, as well as the Survivor Advocate to connect students in distress with a variety of necessary resources, including assisting sexual or dating violence survivors with protective orders. UNT Police work closely with the campus community to train for emergencies such as active shooters or weather-related disasters, in addition to providing a safety patrol for students who are on campus late at night either working, studying, or as residents. Also, as mentioned in a previous response, the UNT Police Department trains in mental health response and de-escalation. These trainings include bringing outside experts in to train our officers. We also participate in UNT’s CARE Team which is run out of the Dean of Student’s Office. The mission of the CARE Team is to:

  • Assist in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the students and members of the UNT community.
  • Support student success.
  • Provide a comprehensive response to students whose behavior could be harmful to themselves or others.

Most of our officers are also certified Mental Health Peace Officers, which is an advanced, specialized training. This process requires both police officer experience and additional training. Our goal is to have every UNT officer certified as a Mental Health Peace Officer. It’s important for us to take this extra step to ensure we are serving our community.

Questions Related to Fear of Police

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We are afraid of the UNT police! How can we tell the police we are afraid of the police without clear support or safety?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
I want to second the fear of the police. I've been followed by the cops for just walking. It makes taking casual strolls on UNTs property terrifying. I don't even want to work out because I don't want to be stopped by the police. Even walking seems like i'm doing something illegal.

Related Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
Are police aware that some students are afraid of them?

Response: Yes. We understand others’ experiences may lead them to feel uncomfortable around police. The UNT Police Dept. focuses on community policing to ensure our officers get to know students, faculty, staff and their needs. We encourage community members to reach out to us to get to know us. They can set up a meeting with the police chief or work with one of our partners on campus, such as the Dean of Students, to help make that connection.

Questions Related to Darius Tarver

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Does the police chief want to address the shooting of UNT student Darius Tarver? a lot of UNT community members are upset by the police response and lack of accountability to Darius' family to acknowledge that police did not handle that situation in an equitable way (as they would have likely treated a white individual). They in no way tried to help Darius by warning him of their intent to shoot, nor did any one of the four police officers try to restrain/disarm him when he was laying on the ground after they tased him. We would love to know your perspective on this situation, as his UNT family is heartbroken by his death.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
If the officers are trained on implicit bias and mental health how did Darius Tarver end up dead? Could it be that the tranings that are being held are not working for UNTPD. How do we get UNTPD engaged in more effective training to reduce the number of traumatic experiences for our studnets, faculty, and larger community. To my recollection, the name of the officer involved in the shooting was never released. It is amazing how there is police protection yet there is a danger to our UNT communities of color... more specifically the Black community.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
I am very concerned about Chief Reynold’s response to the question about Darius Tarver. He is missing the point and it concerns me that he doesn’t seem to get it.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
When will the name of the officer / officers responsible for the killing of Darius Tarver be released?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Don't have a town hall in which you ask "how are we feeling?" and ask for commentary about experiences of community members and then shut down responses by saying "that's not our jurisdiction". re: Darius Tarver who was a UNT student and therefore is a UNT concern.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Since the police are refusing to acknowledge or comment on Darius' death and how it was racially influenced, would the President like to make a comment to his UNT community?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):*
When will the name of the officer / officers responsible for the killing of Darius Tarver be released?
*repetitive

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why are we not talking about the death of UNT student Darius Tarver, even though the his shooting was done by Denton police and not UNT police? He was a UNT student. Why would the UNT chief of police be willing to address what's happened in Minneapolis but not police deaths that happen in our own UNT community? This does not help the black community to feel safe in Denton and at UNT.

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):*
Does the police chief want to address the shooting of UNT student Darius Tarver? a lot of UNT community members are upset by the police response and lack of accountability to Darius' family to acknowledge that police did not handle that situation in an equitable way (as they would have likely treated a white individual). They in no way tried to help Darius by warning him of their intent to shoot, nor did any one of the four police officers try to restrain/disarm him when he was laying on the ground after they tased him. We would love to know your perspective on this situation, as his UNT family is heartbroken by his death.
*repetitive

Response: Thank you for sharing your question. UNT Police was not involved in this in any way. Denton PD was the responding agency. They are a fully separate entity from our PD. We, too, are heartbroken by his death.

Questions Related to 8 Can’t Wait

Question/Comment (Antonella Longo):
For those who are not familiar with the “8 can’t wait” policies the police chief talked about, you can find them here: 8cantwait.org.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Antonella and others, you might be interested in Eve Ewing’s analysis of 8 Can’t Wait: https://twitter.com/eveewing/status/1269285798601523202

Response: UNT Police reviews its policies for accreditation yearly, and recently reviewed and updated current policies, specifically in regards to the #8cantwait campaign. These are eight provisions that Campaign Zero recommends be in all police departments’ Use of Force policies. Many of these were already expressly written into UNT Police policy, while the remaining concerns were already a part of UNT Police standard practice.

  1. Chokeholds and strangleholds:  UNT Police addresses in physical training to avoid crushing an airway and stay away from the throat. Officers are trained to use other pressure point and physical tactics that do not restrict air movement.
  2. Require de-escalation:  UNT Police has a detailed policy section on the Use of Force Continuum (number 7 on the list asks departments to establish this). Essentially, the policy says under normal circumstances officers should exhaust every means possible of deploying minimum amount of force before escalating. UNT Police also regularly engage in de-escalation training.
  3. Require warning before shooting:  Verbal directions and commands are in the Use of Force Continuum.
  4. Exhaust all alternatives before shooting:  It is department policy to exhaust every reasonable means of employing the minimal amount of force before escalating.
  5. Duty to intervene:  In training, in use of force, in arrest, search and seizure, etc… UNT Police operates and trains under the premise of supervisors and partners are accountable through the established legal standards of negligent supervision or vicarious liability.
  6. Ban shooting at moving vehicles:  This is already expressly prohibited in UNT Police policy. UNT Police cannot shoot at moving vehicles and cannot shoot from a moving vehicle. Warning shots are also prohibited. Any use of deadly force must take into consideration bystanders.
  7. Establish Use of Force Continuum:  Already exists for UNT Police (see above)
  8. Require all force be reported:  UNT Police policy already includes comprehensive reporting.

General Questions

Question/Comment (Antonella Longo):
It is time for the Confederate Statue in the Denton Square to be removed. It is deeply offensive to any student who arrives in Denton, mostly to the African American students. It represents a sad period of this country’s history when oppression of black citizens was legal and encouraged. As UNT faculty, let’s support all efforts for its removal.

Response: We are proud of our faculty, staff and students who have taken the time to stand up for their beliefs. The statue was in fact removed by the city in June.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Trainings need to be done in person (zoom or teams) and not over a video. People can walk away from a video and not learn or care

Response: We understand and share your concern. We believe it is important to deliver training via multiple platforms. Not only for the reason mentioned above, but also because as educators we recognize individuals have different learning styles. It is important we create as many opportunities as we can to provide a quality learning experience. Our Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity has been hard at work converting some of their in-person trainings to virtual sessions during this pandemic, and we continue to grow and expand our offerings.  The Black Faculty Network has also said they would like to see measures of accountability included for all who participate. For faculty, staff and administrators these measures should be directly tied to their annual review process.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why have the behind the scenes plans not been shared from November until early March? We keep hearing that you are working on but what are you working on? As a chair of a department, it has not been clear even thought we are told we should be dealing with the problems. We too need support.

Response: We shared plans with SGA, but you are correct. We can do a better job sharing action plans. We have created an online resource for this reason. You can learn more in the Moving Forward Together: UNT's Action Plan for Improving Diversity and Inclusion on Campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why was this webinar swithced to a teleconferencing service that has a smaller attendee capacity, especially when teams is recommended by UNT IT.

Response: The meeting was switched, albeit late, from Teams to Zoom in an effort to allow participants the opportunity to actually participate “live” with questions to the panelists during the Town Hall as an additional way to share information.  Once we realized that requests for participation were exceeding capacity, we moved as quickly as possible to increase the number of employees who could participate.  We will be mindful of this concern in future virtual town hall meetings. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I understand that the format of these townhall meetings have changed, however, it is difficult to hear some of y'all and either captions or something of that nature would be helpful. I'm concerned about the accessibility that these meetings bring and would like to know if this is going to be taken into consideration at some point?

Response: Thank you for the suggestion of including captions in town halls or similar large-scale meetings.  This should be a part of our routine efforts to be more inclusive and to accommodate diverse participants in our meetings and programs.

Question/Comment (Stephen Lewis):
I have experienced delayed response from my department regarding situations going on not only at UNT but also the world. Why does sentiments come from the top down and prohibit us to show personal support for our students and peers?

Response: Individuals are welcome to express their personal support to students and peers.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
What Does Black Lives Matter to UNT? My comment is that at the very least "matters" is the minimum. Are valued, are needed hopefully is also a part of this discussion. How will the black community know that their lives matter?

Response: We agree. “Matters” is the minimum. We do value our black community, and Black Lives Matter at UNT means the university is committed to “walk the talk” in our commitment to and treatment of Black members of our community.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Many universities have made stronger statements against racism and have shared actionable ways they are serving as allies. UNT, however, seems to hold back from such a strong stance, seeking to placate rather than listen, support, and act in support of our black communities.

Response: UNT’s president and many of its deans and other administrators have made strong statements against racism. We hope the Town Halls held on June 5 and 8 and the statements of UNT’s president has demonstrations of our listening to and support of black communities on and off campus.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Faculty and staff need to have more support other than "EAP is available here (with a link)." I have had zero support from those who know that I'm the mother of a biracial child and dating someone outside of my race. It's really disheartening as an employee.

Response: There are Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on campus.  Please see the website of the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity for a list of current ERGs at UNT: https://edo.unt.edu/employee-resource-groups.  If there is not an ERG that addresses your particular needs, please contact Diversity and Inclusion (Diversity.Inclusion@unt.edu) and suggest creating an additional Employee Resource Group at UNT.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Training is good, but we also need accountability. Here are two items that can be added to every employee evaluation
1. Consistently contributes to creating safe inclusive, diverse and equitable spaces for all UNT students, specifically students of color.
2. Consistently participates in professional development activities to increase awareness of issues surrounding black students, diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency.

Response: Thank you for your comment and suggestions.  This will be discussed further and considered as we identify ways to measure employee engagement in fostering diversity and inclusion at UNT.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why has the mediation team on campus not been utilized to allow for positive conflict resolution on this campus?  It seems as if that representative body could provide a valid resource for questions/conflicts between faculty and staff members.

Response: I encourage you to reach out to Deb.Rohwer@unt.edu to discuss mediation and any concerns you may have about the role this team plays.

Question/Comment (Mariela Nunez-Janes):
The testimonies shared through Black at UNT should be required reading for faculty and staff

Related Question/Comment (Jaime Rodriguez):
I wish to second Prof. Nunez-Janes’s suggestion.

Response: Thank you for your suggestion.  The testimonies shared through #BlackAtUNT will be shared in Diversity and Inclusion workshops presented by the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity to help participants understand that the issues raised by our students are “real,” occurred on our campus, and must not continue to occur.

Some areas have shared the information with their staff in order to start a dialogue among a department or across a division.  The Division of Student Affairs has done so and hopes that it will help staff across the division understand the experiences our Black students have on our campus and identify ways in which we can provide more support.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why do black folks have to re-live their trauma by sharing their stories in order to get others to realize we have a problem on-campus?

Response: We want to have real conversations with our community about how individuals are feeling and what everyone’s respective needs are. Let us be clear:  the President’s Town Hall was an effort to listen to the voices of UNT’s community to ensure everyone who wished to do so had an opportunity to speak about their experiences and their expectations for the future.  We appreciate all UNT’s employees who took the time and expended emotional energy to engage with us, but we also have every intention of doing the work necessary for UNT to be the wonderfully diverse, caring community we know it can be.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I feel due to the current and past climate of UNT my voice is suppressed and not considered valid. I have been told that it is my responsibility to address these problems. There are policies in place to report sexual abuse and misconduct. Can we expect policies to address racial discrimination?

Response: There are policies to address racial discrimination at UNT.  These policies are under the purview of the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity.  There is an online reporting form or you can contact the Office of Equal Opportunity directly to report allegations of racial discrimination.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Recruitment of blacks and underrepresented minority faculty at UNT has been going on for over 30 years but it seems to be a failure. Can any administrator here state their opinion as to why it has been a failure?

Response: The current administration and college deans are committed to recruiting faculty at UNT that are more reflective of the students we serve.  More importantly, we strive to hire faculty who can teach, mentor and conduct research with UNT’s diverse students, regardless of race.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The university as an entity likes to brag about our student and faculty and staff accomplishments, but doesn't want to take stands. For example, it got a lot of traction from history students who uncovered brutal white supremacy here in Denton and Denton County - yet why can't the university take a stand against the statue in the Square? Why can't the police be taken apart and either rebuilt or dismantled?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
I also would like to see UNT take a definitive stance about the Confederate Statue on the Denton Town Square.

Response: I feel the statue should be taken down, but Denton governs itself.  I will call the mayor. UPDATE:  Statue has been removed.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I imagine that the reason not many "hands are raised" is because there is a fear among many staff/faculty of being identified with a question or concern and how that may make their professional position potentially more politically difficult.

Response: We hope that more faculty and staff will participate in future virtual town halls.  Usage of the anonymous feature does allow the person posing a question or comment to remain anonymous.  We are genuinely interested in learning more and understanding the issues of concern to UNT employees, and we want employees to feel safe in participating in the virtual Town Halls.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How are we helping and protecting black students who have been sexually assaulted? I have had students get turned away from campus survivor groups and DOS

Response: There is a survivor group through Counseling & Testing that is a closed group with a very strict screening process meant for the protection of the survivors already in that group. However, there are many additional resources for survivors on campus aside from that specific group. Helping survivors is the purpose of our Survivor Advocate, who will not turn away any students and exists solely to help individuals who have been victims of violence. C&T is also creating a second, open group for victims of violence. This group will remain open and rolling, without the same restrictions as the closed group that requires specific issues and timing.

The UNT Survivor Advocate’s role is to connect students who have been impacted by violence to resources (counseling, health, safety, academics, legal, etc.), and act as their advocate. The advocate can assist a student with filing protective orders, completing crime victim’s compensation applications, contacting professors for absences related to an assault, working with housing to facilitate a room change (if needed), and connecting students to the many other resources that are available, both on and off campus. Contact the advocate by calling the Dean of Student at 940-565-2648 or emailing SurvivorAdvocate@unt.edu. Learn more about resources.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Besides just "listening", when will leadership actually address what they have done, take ownership rather than become defensive, and explain in depth how they are now taking action against racial injustice? For instance #BlackatUNT, where a post states "The VP of SA said to a room full of student leaders the reason UNT doesn't have more Black professors was because there aren't that many Black folks in academia." Simply not true and there should be more faculty/staff of color, specifically Black faculty/staff of color. This should be addressed.

Response: UNT’s leadership is communicating actions that have been taken to address issues raised by students. We will continue to listen and we will respond.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
#BlackatUNT is a powerful read. Has the president and Dr. With read it? How do they feel about it?

Response: I have read it all and am heartbroken by the many stories I have heard and the experiences our students have had. I have sent the comments to our leadership team and we will review them and identify ways to improve the culture and experiences of our Black students and all of our students of color. I take these stories to heart and want to do better and am committed to doing better.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I am deeply concerned about the framing of UNT’s institutional response to anti-black racism on campus as a matter of “changing hearts.” This suggests a serious misunderstanding of how racism works. It individualizes a systemic problem. It’s also coercive. It leveraged the university’s ethic of care against those the institution fails to care for—per the theme of this meeting, black faculty, staff, and students.

I am also deeply concerned about a statement made during Friday’s BLM town hall with students: that “radical change is rarely sustainable.” Radical change is indeed sustainable, as any student of, say, the Haitian Revolution understands. And it is necessary. “Radical” a.k.a. systemic change is the only “sustainable” a.k.a. realistic approach to the problem of anti-black racism on campus.

Response: Thank you for your comments. We realize that there needs to be change at UNT and that the change needs to be sustained for real progress to occur. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
What is being done to "improve the cultural competency" of top administrators?

Response: Top administrators (vice presidents and deans) at UNT are engaged in diversity and inclusion training.  Administrators also realize the need to model behaviors we expect of our faculty, staff and students and to continually engage in the life-long process of increasing our cultural competence.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why does it take a national event for UNT to listen? These issues have been brought up with the provost and president specifically over the last several years (and longer) and nothing was done. How do we know you actually care (or at least plan to actually act) and this isn’t just for PR and will die down when the media attention does?

Response: We have been listening to UNT’s faculty, staff and students before recent tragedies sparked greater national outrage.  These tragedies underscored many issues with which we have previously grappled as a campus community, and we thought it important to  engage our faculty, staff and students at this time. While the virtual environment is not an ideal medium in which to have these crucial conversations, we could not remain silent knowing our community is hurting.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Is there a way the university could try to limit Black students, faculty, and staff from having to relive their traumatic racist instances to teach white individuals about racism? Instead could education be done by white individuals seeking this information on their own through other resources instead of putting the labor on individuals who already carry such a burden.

Response: While we encourage all faculty and staff to participate in our Town Halls, it is not required.  It is not our intent to have Black faculty, staff and students relive traumatic events.  Panelists who participated in the Town Halls graciously agreed to share their stories and to bring “voice” to the many faculty, staff and students whose voices could not be heard during the virtual events.  UNT does have online diversity and inclusion training resources that individual employees can access on their own.  See online diversity and inclusion trainings available to UNT employees:   https://edo.unt.edu/virtual-diversity-and-inclusion-training.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How will we be handling staff that make crude jokes about running down protesters?

Response: One way to handle crude jokes is to be courageous enough to comment on the impropriety of such comments. Unfortunately, many times those who use inappropriate language do so because they think others do not object.  Also, please report such language to your supervisor, if you find it offensive.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Since UNT is now a HSI/MSI what will the institution be doing in order to implement a plan hire a more diverse staff and faculty? Especially since a vast vast majority of leadership are white men and women.

Response: Each division within the university is evaluating their diversity in hiring practices and formulating strategies to improve these practices within their specific areas.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We have a President’s Advisory Council where many issues of racism, police brutality, sexism, homophobia, classism have been raised. When and how is this body going to be taken seriously?

Response: The Council was first created by President Smatresk in 2014 to provide him with advice on issues of concern to UNT’s faculty, staff and students. Many of the issues initially brought to the Council are now being addressed by other campus units such as the Office of Equal Opportunity. During the coming academic year, the President’s Advisory Council will be reviewed and possibly restructured to increase its effectiveness.   

Question/Comment (David Kirkwood):
Despite being the son of a man who was dark enough to be told which drinking fountains he could use, the lightness of my complexion has allowed me to move through the world as a white male with many of the privileges intact. Ironically, it also included some insensitivities about the much of plight faced people like my father. It wasn't until later when my father shared with me the anecdotal stories of his life that I started to understand the hurt inflicted by segregation and racism. Would it help the UNT community—students, faculty, staff and administrators—to create a central repository where we could share our own stories or those of family members (or other literature) to help humanize the struggles at a deeper level?

Response: Thank you for your comment and suggestion. We will consider offering an opportunity for members of the UNT community who would like to share anecdotal stories about their lived experiences.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Thank you Priscilla!

Response: Thank you for showing support for your colleague.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I wish we could “like” comments that echo our own concerns.

Response: It would be a nice feature. Thank you for sharing! Zoom is beta testing this feature and we hope it will be available in future events.

Question/Comment (Nandika D’Souza):
I did an exercise with the diversity office (phenomenal work by Joanne and Shani each year) that was very impactful. A visitor asked the room to stand if they had NOT faced a situation. the questions ranged from "they were not questioned about their ability to pay for a mortgage". "no one doubted that they were an employee" etc. by the end it became so apparent what privilege was. I as an Indian immigrant am more accepted in America than a black person who has been here for centuries. It underscored my observations and discussions with my black engineering advisor in the backdrop fo the OJ Simpson case. I try my best to be the advocate but do find we need an allies and advocates program so we have more faculty who grow into empathy as I did.

Response: Thank you for your comments and willingness to be an advocate for diversity and inclusion at UNT. Please contact Dr. Bertina Combes in the Office of Faculty Success about the possibility of developing (or reconstituting) an Allies and Advocates program at UNT. You also may participate in Diversity and Inclusion’s Unlikely Allies program.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I would like to hear about what concrete, meaningful consequences can be laid into policy for faculty and staff who have been clearly demonstrated to have instigated racist incidents or microaggressions?

Response: Faculty and staff who have been found to have violated UNT’s policy on discrimination and harassment on the basis of race are subject to disciplinary action.  Such disciplinary action is determined by the supervisor and varies depending on the findings of fact associated with each investigation conducted by the Office of Equal Opportunity and whether there are other incidents of wrongdoing in an employee’s personnel file. The level of disciplinary action depends on the severity of the findings/policy violation as well as the employee’s history. Each staff situation is carefully considered with HR working closely with both OEO and the supervisor to ensure a thorough understanding of facts and appropriate disciplinary recommendations. Faculty have a specific grievance process and a grievance committee that is also potentially involved in these matters. 

Question/Comment (Katie Deering/Mary.Fogle@unt.edu):
I have witnessed my supervisor be consistently demeaning and dismissive of my black colleague, ignoring her in meetings, telling her that she is being too loud or too aggressive, and openly stating that she isn't in charge, (this colleague is also one of three black staff members in a department of forty-eight, which is an issue in and off itself), I reported it to HR months ago and nothing has improved or changed. What do you suggest we do when we are consistently witnessing discrimination and bad behavior from our superiors? This behavior has also been reported to the head of our department who stated that it is just a communication error. Will staff supervisors have any mandatory training?

Response: We have reviewed our HR records and do not find a record of this complaint. Complaints of discrimination should be reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity at UNT.  All employees at UNT are required to take training on preventing discrimination and harassment.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Would there be a survey to collect Black/color faculty experiences?

Response:  There was a Campus Climate for Inclusion Survey conducted in late November 2018.  The survey results were posted on the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity website. The survey provided an opportunity for survey respondents to provide comments about their experiences at UNT.  The climate survey is not scheduled to be replicated until 2023.  Focus groups with faculty, staff and students will be conducted in fall 2020 to follow-up on findings from the climate survey.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can y'all answer some of the great questions here in Q & A? This is a BLM town hall, can we focus on the UNT black community today?

Response: A number of answers are being provided during today’s session. Followup responses to the Q&A will be provided after this session on the Institutional Diversity and Inclusion website.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I hear more diversity training being said in these questions. How is additional diversity trainings the answer? Those training are mandatory and a lot of times, people just go through them just because they have too not necessarily because they want to.

Response: While diversity training alone is not the solution, it is a start in trying to create the kind of caring campus community that we truly desire at UNT. Diversity training will provide participants with common language, a greater understanding of concepts and an opportunity to engage in crucial conversations that are essential in supporting a welcoming and inclusive campus climate at UNT. It is one tool we have in addressing diversity and inclusion issues, but not our only one.

Question/Comment (Candi Harris):
Good afternoon, everyone.  Each semester, I specifically request retention and graduation rates disaggregated by gender and ethnicity.  I don't know if this information is available directly in Insights (the last I was told by DAIR was that it isn't currently set up).  Could we get some new dashboards that make this information readily available?  Or, if it already exists, could someone point me to it.

Response: We have this information, and it is in dashboard form. We will publish it.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Regarding a place for undergraduate and graduate students to report/address inequity/unfair treatment (whether racial/identity related or not). I've heard students feeling unsafe to report to DOS. What role is the Ombudsperson supposed to play and why is this not been brought up as a resource?

Response: You can report these issues to the Office of Equal Opportunity, and they will be reviewed. This concern will be raised with the DOS office staff and will be addressed.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
What are we going to do about insensitive superviors/Deans/coworkers/etc. who have been able to get away with microaggressions and racially insensitive comments for years? Even when students or other coworkers bring up their concerns or complaints they fall on deaf ears.

Response: Please report allegations of discrimination on the basis of race to the Office of Equal Opportunity at UNT. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It seems as though the response to various questions is always - “we will provide more trainings.” At some point we need to move beyond just training and move into more action phases. If you say UNT is committed to inclusion, diversity, etc. then let that be reflected within the faculty and staff… and not just in lower level positions. POC (in this case, Black faculty, staff, and students) are constantly being asked to share their experiences to a White administration. How can the White admin really and truly know the needs of a minority student body… unless it is also reflected in the admin?

Response: UNT’s administration is not all White.  It is important for all administrators, regardless of color, to understand the experiences of our faculty, staff and students and to address concerns raised by members of our campus community.  We are actively seeking to understand the needs of UNT’s diverse student body and to make needed changes to ensure all students and employees can be successful at UNT.

Question/Comment (Jaime Rodriguez):
We are hopeful for change at UNT, but there is also the key matter of accountability and measurement. How will UNT develop a program to evaluate itself on matters of equity in the future? Who will have authority to suggest change? How will we make sure that this moment of crisis leads to a sustained process of reform?
JRodríguez

Response: UNT will develop SMART goals regarding diversity and inclusion to hold itself accountable for progress in promoting diversity and inclusion.  Every faculty, staff and student at UNT has the ability to suggest change which is one thing we hope to gain from having this Town Hall—suggestions for change.  We are committed to ensuring there is a sustained process for any needed reform at the university by more effectively communicating actions we are currently taking and take in the future to address concerns brought to our attention by employees and students.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
With all the anonymous questions, it underscores that staff are afraid to speak out; fear of reprimand. UNT is a scary and heartbreaking place to work sometimes.

Response: We realize it may be daunting for some employees to speak out, which is why we will continue to provide ways for UNT faculty and staff to share anonymously with us their comments and concerns.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
This isn't much of a question. I do believe that non-black faculty DO need to be educated more in regards to microaggressions. These are the ones that go under the radar, and these are what a lot of students are afraid to bring forth, as we don't feel comfortable reporting these. I just beg all faculty to ensure they are doing everything they can for their black employees, as they do non-black employees. If faculty will go above and beyond for non-black students, please do the same for black students.

Response: We agree completely.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
For division of enrollment: The financial aid office is understaffed and overworked, which hurts all students but especially black students. A university that serves a large BIPOC community needs to dedicate more resources to this department. Minority students are more likely to come from a background with less financial education (a result of systemic racism!!!) and may thus have more questions regarding the FA process. I will not blame the FA staff because I truly believe they are doing their best, but are unable to give every student the attention they need. What can be done about this? Re-allocating more budget $ to FA allowing them to hire more staff to better serve the student population (esp the BIPOC stu population)?

Response: We have just approved more hires in this office.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I'm encouraged to see the passion of many of my colleagues in the chat here. I hope to do my part each day to counteract racism words and actions on our campus. I'm disappointed to see this event was capped at 1,000 people and one hour, when these comments clearly speak to a demand for much greater attention to this issue.

Response: We were able to expand the capacity to 3,000 so additional participants could join. Many did.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can bystander intervention training be offered to the campus community?

Response:
Yes.  Bystander intervention training is already offered to all new students as part of their new student orientation.

Question/Comment (Armendia Cross):
Thank you for talking today.  From the video released the other day. Your officer did a great job handling himself and the situation.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How are we ensuring that higher administration and faculty are effectively engaging with the anti-bias and various diversity trainings offered at UNT? The people in these positions of power have a responsibility to advocate for and support Black students and colleagues. However, they are often unable to even acknowledge race issues and challenges. These challenges are minimized or dismissed. Many faculty and staff claim that they “do not see color”, however this mentality is just as harmful as it does not address the problem. I suggest we implement race and bias screening to all faculty and staff.

Response from Provost Cowley: In my division there is an expectation of diversity and inclusion training for leaders. This is integrated in a range of ways - for example through our department chairs development program. Race and Bias will be a component of the faculty professional development program.

Response: Each division is evaluating their diversity and inclusion training plans to better improve understanding and culture within these areas. The Division of Equity and Diversity also has been offering multiple trainings on Bias Awareness & Perception, as well as Microaggressions & Inclusive Langauge.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Have you thought of more extensive firsthand bias training, like the blue eyes brown eyes project?

Response: Diversity and Inclusion offers bias programs. https://edo.unt.edu/awareness-workshops

Questions about Creating a Grad School Pipeline

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We need to identify and guide high achieving students toward grad school. Create a pipeline of talent---then hire them!

Related Question/Comment (Candi Harris):
As a staff member who manages the MARTIAL Eagle program (designed to improve retention and graduation rates for our Black men on campus), I second the comment I saw about creating a pipeline to steer our talented students towards grad school...and then hiring them. Love that action item!

Response: We agree and believe this is one of the actions that is most urgently needed.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As a white, female, tenured Professor, I second Sharon Jenkins’ question… “What can white (aspiring) allies do to help with racial battle fatigue? Good topic for our trainings.”

Response: We will make note of this and give this to our team developing the professional development program. In the meantime, you can consider joining Diversity and Inclusion’s Unlikely Allies program.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Why are all statements of allyship and standing against racism required to run through the former office of university relations? We are being silenced.

Response: Those statements do not have to be run through UBSC. We were trying to help any units with communications, if requested. There was confusion about that offer, which was later clarified with all deans.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I have reported racist remarks made by faculty members serving in administrative positions (and search committees), racist remarks made by staff in Advancement at alumni events, as well as department level staff who state racist statements in their every day interactions with faculty/staff/students, to my direct supervisor and also to campus HR.  Not only did my reports go un-investigated, to my knowledge, the employees weren't required to take any training nor did they endure any consequences.  I now avoid volunteering any efforts to work alongside these UNT employees and warn others (quietly) that they may encounter bigotry/racism.  How do we hold HR accountable and direct supervisors accountable that these reports of racist conduct are addressed and consequences are applied?

Response: Please reach out to Katy McDaniel at katy.mcdaniel@untsystem.edu, so she can look into specifics regarding these allegations and what has happened with them. Everyone is encouraged to report allegations of discrimination and harassment on the basis of race to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Question/Comment (Teresita Hurtado Ramos):
Here's how to report: https://edo.unt.edu/sites/default/files/Inquiry%20Form%20DD_MM_YY.pdf

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As a white woman, what can I do to help?

Response: Consider becoming an ally or accomplice.  See information offered on the Diversity and Inclusion website about their training program “Unlikely Allies in the Academy: Women of Color and White Women in Conversation.”

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can we have an outside place to report concerns or incidents of racism? Frankly, supervisors seem ill-equipped (and untrustworthy) when it comes to handling these issues. Many people have serious doubts that these concerns about making their way into performance reviews. If so, how are staff members with multiple racism complaints still employed by UNT?

Response: Employees can report allegations of discrimination on the basis of race to the Office of Equal Opportunity at UNT. However, employees can also file complaints of discrimination in employment with the local Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is a federal agency.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How can Deans and coworkers who display racism be held accountable? Clearly, training is not working.

Response: You can report allegations of discrimination based on race to the Office of Equal Opportunity. As UNT employees, Deans are also subject to UNT’s Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination Policy.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I have concerns regarding the accessibility of this webinar, as it was capped at 1000 - and there are about that # within my college…

Response: We expanded the webinar at the beginning to allow a capacity of 3,000 and many more did join. We also will be posting the video and transcript online.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
In support of the person talking about radical change, I think what is necessary is changes to the structure, to how we do things. We cannot depend on individual conversion.

Response: We agree.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Radical change looks like (1) removing firearms from police, shifting funding towards conflict resolution and equity programs, (2) changing hiring processes to ensure committees are looking for Black + POC candidates AND  make candidates feel welcome + like they have intellectual contributions (not just being ‘diversity hires’), (3) require curriculum review that examines proportions of white vs POC authors/theoretical frames in syllabi, (4) require training not just in a one-off digital video but long-term, relationship building programs at the level of administration, colleges, and departments, (5) examine acceptance procedures for students at undergraduate + graduate levels to make sure they are not relying on biased measures  (e.g., standardized tests) over alternate demonstrations of competence, (6) just as we are an R1 now with new research expectations, WE CAN EXPECT NEW STANDARDS FROM FACULTY on issues of RACE + EQUITY, too, (7) SEE ALL PRIOR SUGGESTIONS FROM BLACK and POC UNT community members.

Response: Thank you for your recommendations.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
To the anonymous attendee who asked about a survey to collect Black/color faculty experiences, yes the Faculty Senate has multiple subcommittees discussing it. Plans were being made in early spring before transitioning to telecommuting.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
How are we going to continue these conversations?

Response: We will have a face to face session in August, COVID permitting. The Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity also will host Campus Dialogues on Diversity during the 2020-21 academic year. 

Question/Comment (Cherie Ichu):
Who created the cultural competency trainings?

Response: Please reach out to Shani.Moore@unt.edu regarding the origins of the cultural competency trainings developed by the Diversity and Inclusion office.

This is overseen by Institutional Equity and Diversity.

Questions Related to Bias Training

Question/Comment (anonymous):
What about the people in my office that refuse to do the bias training?

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
We also need face to face diversity and bias trainings. Many people tend to walk away from their computers when doing trainings online

Related Question/Comment (anonymous):
We moved our entire course output online in 2 weeks! Make this change a priority!

Related Question/Comment (Angel Pollard):
While trainings are a first step, what happens when those who have been trained choose to continue the same behaviors? What consequences will be put in place because that’s what changes behavior.

Response: All UNT employees will be required to engage in diversity and inclusion training.  The Vice President to whom your office reports is responsible for identifying relevant training to meet the needs of division employees and to ensure accountability (i.e., communicating the expectation that all division employees will complete the training and ensuring it is completed).

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
What is some selected students of color were sent to talk with particular faculty to discuss the racist experiences that have had ???

Response: It is not the responsibility of BIPOC to educate everyone about racism. There are many resources available for this purpose, including literature, film and podcasts, as well as trainings specifically created by our Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity. You can find a wonderfully comprehensive list of resources in multiple mediums here:  https://ied.unt.edu/untblm#Media

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The training for students should be happening with continuing students (undergraduate and graduate) as well. The outright racism problem we face currently on campus is cultivated by the current campus culture. Why is this not occuring for continuing students? These "trainings" should be continuous and not something that happens only once with a follow up.

Response: The Division of Student Affairs will provide diversity training for all incoming students during New Student Orientation this year.  Diversity and inclusion training should also occur for students who are sophomores, juniors and seniors. 

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can we stop using divese training as a checkbox? Just becasue we do doesn’t mean any of the culture or the system is changing.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Does the president have access to this chat? Many radical change options have been asked and discussed here.

Response: Yes, we are publishing the questions so that everyone can review them as well.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Is UNT going to take any affirmative action on those who do not wish to participate in making changes on campus that will ensure equality and minimize racism?

Response: All UNT employees will be required to engage in appropriate diversity training as identified by the vice president to whom their office or division reports.  Unit heads are also responsible for ensuring accountability.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Will the trainings mentioned be videos or will they have engagement aspects? Will these trainings have the capability to have breakout sessions to gauge the climate of the attendees?

Responses: The face-to-face trainings offered by Diversity and Inclusion all include engagement activities. Diversity and Inclusion staff are currently working to include engagement aspects in the virtual trainings that have been conducted since the COVID-19 pandemic moved their training activities to an online format.  It is possible to have “breakout sessions” in the virtual environment.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The repetitive harassment and assault of senior faculty on junior faculty, particularly faculty of color, is overlooked at UNT. Has this ever been addressed at the university level?

Response: Yes. This is addressed at UNT when reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Look at the number of related employees who work at UNT.  This will have a direct bearing on opportunities being available to a more diverse pool of applicants.  This should be a point of consideration in the President's statement of jobs being available to the minority communities.

Response: I agree.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Neal, how are these for concrete ideas?

Starts with:

  • Publicly taking a stance against racism and serving as an ally. Many other universities have done so, and we are simply dancing around it. Listen, support, and act in support of our black communities.

Then:

  • Required diversity and inclusion training
  • Required anti-racist training
  • Follow-up workshops that continue the learning process
  • Adding more diverse people to leadership and faculty and staff positions across the campus
  • Perhaps some form of book club that helps educate faculty and staff around black and POC issues
  • Other (and possibly better) ideas have also been shared throughout this Q&A

Response from President Smatresk: I appreciate these ideas…I think we can work on them.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Does "all Faculty" include Adjunct Faculty? How is this being funded?

Response: If this is referring to faculty training, the professional development program will be available to all faculty.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We don’t need more trainings. We need radical change in diversifying the executive positions. White leaders can't understand the needs of black employees. We need DIVERSE LEADERS.

Response: We are well aware fo the racial disparity within our top leadership groups and are committed to creating affirmative search processes when a top leadership position becomes vacant so we can increase the diversity of the executive level of our organization as attrition occurs. We also believe that education of all is important to understanding diversity and inclusion needs and serving as change agents within an organization and community.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I hope to see UNT administrators, faculty and staff at one of the daily BLM protests (who are also hosting racial injustice lectures) at the Denton Square.  Stand with them (socially distanced, of course).  Listen to black leadership on what they are seeking for change in our community, which includes the UNT campus.

Response: I will be going Wednesday night.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Trainings are great, and I wouldn't suggest eliminating these, but because there continue to be many terrible actions against students, staff, and faculty, clearly the grievance/justice mechanisms are inadequate. For some, trainings will help, but ultimately students, staff, and faculty must all be aware that there will be serious consequences if they engage in racist, sexist, transphobic, etc behavior. What will UNT be doing to improve the institutional mechanisms to ensure that consequences are enforced against the perpetrators of this behavior?

Response: My hope is that once we are clear about expectations - clear about opportunities to improve through professional development - this enables greater accountability, enables the ability to ensure there are consequences... But, we also have to take the time and care to examine our existing policies, practices and procedures and possibly revise what we have to create the structure necessary. We also have to focus on building a more diverse faculty, staff and administration.

For there to be consequences for perpetrators of discriminatory behavior based on race, sex, and sexual orientation, the behavior has to be reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity and an investigation conducted to determine if there is a policy violation.  Please report any allegation of discrimination to the Office of Equal Opportunity at UNT. Faculty, staff and students who have been found to have violated UNT’s policy on discrimination and harassment are subject to disciplinary sanctions.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Many of these are great DSA strategies however there's usually very little accountability, example the DEI online training is 96% completed, why isn't it 100%? The deadline was June 1 and we still have 4% not completed, who are those people and what’s the accountability?

Response: Supervisors were made aware of those staff who have not completed the required trainings and will be following up with those staff members to ensure accountability.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I am a black staff member on campus and I want to be here for black students, but I do not feel supported in my office or by UNT as a whole. This conversation is hard to have, but necessary. However, I still do not feel comforted by this town hall.

Response: Thank you for participating in the Black Lives Matter Town Hall.  These are indeed difficult but necessary conversations to have if we are going to make progress.  Unfortunately, discomfort is one of the key reasons many efforts to improve diversity and inclusion fail. I hope the Town Hall at least made you feel heard and that you will continue to be at UNT for black students.  And, please consider connecting with the Black Professional Network (an Employee Resource Group for black identifying employees at UNT), if you have not already done so.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We need to do these often

Response:  We plan to have more Town Halls in 2020-21 to continue listening to the campus community and to be more intentional in our efforts to better inform our faculty, staff and students about progress made in addressing concerns raised.    

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Can one of the moderators please remind participants that this is a Black Lives Matter forum and that we really need to center the concerns and experiences of Black faculty/staff/students/administrators on campus.

Response: This was handled by the town hall moderator during the live event.

General Comments Shared

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It is important for many people here to understand that you can indeed be a person of color and still be anti-Black.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Nothing has been solved during this time. As a black person who is employed by UNT I do not feel that my university values my blackness or my students blackness, period. This time did not comfort me in any way, we should not have to be forced to relive our trauma for nothing to come from it. We are TIRED are students are TIRED. I am truly exhausted from this conversation.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The 17th Annual Equity and Diversity Conference on Feb 23, 2017, - Social Justice: A Movement Not A Moment - was an informative day and one where allies and POC had discussions about solutions. The events in 2018, 2019, and 2020 have also been impactful during the day of the event. I am hopeful that lessons learned and discussed during these days and being discussed now can be implemented to retain the movement and not just be the day-event's moment.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I wonder, instead of saying we need less racism why not try to work on having no racism?

Response: Excellent point, thank you.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Reclaiming my time

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
the iceberg is just emerging

Question/Comment (anonymous):
There are some incredible responses and suggestions here in regards to "radical" (read: NECESSARY) change. Trainings and professional development clearly aren't working. I hope the administration will consider something that will actually empower and protect our community. This has been a somewhat disheartening conversation for many of us who are tired and hopeful and working for real change. *group with previous

Question/Comment (James M. Martin):
My department claims strongly to be "extremely diverse" and "understanding of the needs" of black students. There have only ever been two tenure track black faculty members. One left due to very questionable negative votes prior to 2008. I (black, male faculty member) am the only one left. There has only ever been one black lecturer. That black female faculty member left at the end of this year after accepting a tenure track position in a more supportive department at another university. Our only black female staff member retired. The first black male staff member was hired this month. My department's claims of diversity are shallow at best.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Interesting that radical change can be perceived as difficult. On the other hand, we were able to shut down nearly the entire economy for two months.

Question/Comment (Liz Cosgrove Ford):
I would like to echo the sentiments that we can not leave all of the responsibility of this work solely with the Division of Institutional Equity & Diversity. The expertise, knowledge, and leadership of the employees within that division are extremely valuable and needed for the success of UNT. However, it can not only be their job. Campus leadership from each department need to make a commitment, with specific action plans, to address existing racial issues within the university and ensure that there are specific reporting mechanisms and protections in place for our black students, staff and faculty members.  We are all responsible for creating an anti-racist environment at UNT.  This is the radical change that is needed. We ALL need to take responsibility for creating an environment that allows for black students, staff and faculty success. If we do not address the reported biased and racist barriers that exist, if we do not push for radical change, we not only fail to move forward, we are complicit.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I'm feeling sadder after this townhall. It is coming across without genuine intent. I had a better feeling before this. I didn't know things were this bad at UNT. the comments are genuine but the marketing style responses and speeches sound insincere. I spend my life trying to help others having had the benefit of kindness in my own life.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We need the opportunity and time, as part of our everyday lives as faculty and staff, to address our emotional and social health, and not be so overworked every semester with crises and new emerging problems that erode boundaries of work-life balance and undercut any sense of sustainable, respective professional work and relationships. Please stop grounding us down in the name of productivity and administrative ambition. Invest in us as people who matter.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Representation matters. It has been echoed here in many responses. Students need to see themselves in upper administration. Has anyone considered the radical action of stepping down to make room for a more diverse administration?

Response: We are well aware fo the racial disparity within our top leadership groups and are committed to creating affirmative search processes when a top leadership position becomes vacant so we can increase the diversity of the executive level of our organization as attrition occurs. We also believe that education of all is important to understanding diversity and inclusion needs and serving as change agents within an organization and community.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Be strong for our black students, faculty, and staff.

Question/Comment (Jim Dale):
Having spent most of my adult life in the business world, I can promise all that we in academia are light years ahead… Still a long way to go, but there’s that.

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
I agree - education is all important ...

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Stop having these town halls and creating useless committees; and start doing what (black) students, faculty and staff have repeatedly asked. You’ve received specific recommendations (multiple times) for how this institution could be more equitable, welcoming, and supportive of black students, faculty, and staff. Often times instead of doing what is asked from the black UNT community (the hard stuff), this administration does what it wants to do (the easy stuff), which usually only amounts to some sort of “Diversity” training and no accountability for all employees and departments to have culturally competent everyday interactions, processes, and programming for students.

Question/Comment (James Martin):
During my midterm tenure review period I stated to  my dean a significant portion of the information included by the department promotion and tenure committee and the department chair as reasons for a negative vote were untrue. When I provided detailed documentation to contradict the department claims the former dean stated he could not discount the false claims because "two of the committee members are former chairs" yet did not elaborate how past ranks justified falsehoods. More importantly when I asked again how the REQUIRED documentation in my dossier gave evidence to the misrepresentation of my record the dean stated "that hasn't been verified by a third party" As someone with promotion and tenure duties third party evaluation is one of the main duties of the dean.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As an institution, how has UNT prepared for / or is planning to prepare, for what our BIPOC and allied students, faculty, and staff are going to bring in the Fall? What is happening on the ground in our streets will be echoed inside of our classrooms, committees, and departments. The demands for structural change absolutely include academia. Academic institutions, UNT included, remain unprepared for this due to the way in which it continues to treat black faculty, staff, and students as the problem, while centering the preservation of comfort around white faculty, staff, and students. The usual responses (town hall, form a committee or Taskforce, etc) are inadequate and frankly tone-deaf. Frankly, relying upon the continued underfunded, undervalued, and rather despised humanities departments and the multi-cultural centers / offices of diversity and inclusion that have been referred to as “unnecessary or frivolous” as a means to appease students demands without actually engaging in meaningful structural change

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I've been here for nearly two years as staff and had not any idea of the different groups (black or otherwise) that were available to be involved in on campus. It would be great to be a part of something and feel like I'm making a difference and building bonds with other staff and faculty on campus - my child is biracial and I'd like to know that I'm doing work to continuously improve her future.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
What is UNT doing to fix the issues outside of campuses. Its one thing to create a better campus environment, but what about the areas and cities surrounding the campuses? For example the denton square is a popular area for students to hang out outside campus, but there is a confederate memorial that stands over you while there.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
With everything that has happened since the incident in November, please understand that there are still departments on campus that have had not addressed this AT ALL and have had ZERO conversations about race.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It is frustrating to continually hear "stay tuned," and "we have plans for the future." We have been hearing this for months. At what point in time will things actually happen? People are talking, but nobody is SAYING anything. Additionally, please have the President address his comment about 'radical change' not working. It does work and has worked throughout history. Not to mention, he continually bragged about thousands of classes moving online in a matter of two weeks due to COVID.  That was radical change that he was happy to boast about. If that can be done, quick action can be taken on race issues. It's just a matter of priorities.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
They get reviewed and nothing happens @Neal S

Question/Comment (Danielle Keifert):
I want to clarify my question (Danielle Keifert, I’m not sure my name will show up). The bias I as a White women receive is not comparable to my Black, female colleagues. When I have raised the issue of systematic change for the use of SPOT evaluations, I have raised this repeatedly as an issue for Black women and other POC of faculty in particular, and yet have been consistently told the portfolio (and individual solution) is available as a resolution. UNT must work on systematic changes that acknowledge the particular experience of Black faculty.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Let’s stop allowing divisions to go around the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity, and require that all initiatives involving equity, diversity, and inclusion go through them (and provide them the support they need to get it done). It’s absurd that other divisions are creating their own (often ineffective) diversity trainings and initiatives without consulting the experts on our campus. To add insult to injury, Dr. Woodard is the only black VP at this institution, and it is completely disrespectful for other divisions to go around her instead of being required to work with her.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
we need diversity in every way. race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. we cannot be us against others. we need to support one another. i am a person of color. creating us against you, creates hostile environment. we need to accept one another. and have the ones that are doing something wrong be rectified.

Question/Comment (Zainul Ali):
When I joined UNT as a faculty member and posted on Linkedin .. a lot of my african american friends called me to share their childrens experience at UNT which was not positive and I have personally seen as what they meant.  I personally believe that we cannot address everything at once … would love to see one long term change a concentrated emphasis to make our faculty / staff demographics match the demographics of the student body with new hires.  I do not see this today.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Though this is not the current central interest, I think it is very important that UNT oppose unethical activities on the part of ICE and protect and support our dreamers and undocumented students wherever possible.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
We don't want to hear from Elizabeth With. She doesn't care. She made it clear to the Division of Student Affairs that she barely has time to read her bible.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
There is a difference between diversity training and anti-racist training.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
When will the upper administration own their failure to our students and faculty of color. An apology is overdue. These are not new requests.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Many of these Latinx comments are reminiscent of All Lives comments. This is a BLM town hall. It doesn’t mean Latinx faculty/students aren’t important. We support you. But that is not the focus of this convo and we shouldn’t have to tell you that, especially HERE.

Question/Comment (Jaime Rodriguez):
There is indeed a Latinx Faculty and Staff network and we have been strongly supportive of BLM and the BFN on campus. In fact, we have today submitted a five-point action plan that we believe, along with our university’s Latinx Studies program (LMAS), can lead to significant, actual reform.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I would like to see UNT take more than a stance on the confederate statue on the Square. I would like our university to take the lead/charge on its removal to make our community feel safer. I know UNT cannot just 'take it down', but UNT is a powerful entity in the county and when UNT talks, county commissioners will listen.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I too would like to see UNT take a definitive stance about the statue in the Denton Town Square, and other Denton issues, especially as it relates to BLM and the current protests.

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
The remark about being unwillling to report a faculty member for biased treatment happened with a black doctoral student in our program who gave him a failing grade bringing his DPA below the required average to continue. I advised him to make a formal complaint which he decided not to ... so we brought the issue to the faculty who voted to give him another chance with a different supervisor. He eventually got his PhD doing a very interesting meta-analysis of black students in K-12 math courses.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Objectively review the diversity starting with the cabinet and each division. Even when a person of color achieves a position in leadership, they are often marginalized. There are clear examples of this happening.  Unfortunately, the perpetrators of this behavior often occupy high positions and are shielded by the support systems they have constructed. The experiences of others are far more damning.  The feeling of powerlessness is palpable.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I'd like to echo Faith Espindola's sentiments on the need for accountability for faculty. As a former student, now staff member, I've seen White faculty run off two Black staff members in the department, to the point that they each quit the same day.

Question/Comment (Jacqueline Vanhoutte):
This is for Faith, as the chair of English, I want you to know that you can always come and speak with me, with our undergraduate advisor, or with our Associate chair about these issues.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
The stories we tell ourselves are critically important to our identities.  When UNT tells it's story, there is a minimization of the institutional harm it has participated in as an institution with its roots in segregation.  Here's an example: https://traditions.unt.edu/history/history-unt

Question/Comment (anonymous):
It seems like the questions in the question and answer can be addressed?

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
The personal stories are good and likely to be effective with a wide variety of people.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Thanks so much. Even as I am typing this question, I am crying.

Question/Comment (Ozlem Altiok):
Radical comes from the Latin “pertaining to the root” of things. It is a great word.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Maybe we need to continue this conversation in another town hall. This is not something we can just 'wrap up and put a bow on'. Too many incredibly important experiences, policy points, and suggestions have been stated here to not continue this conversation.

Question/Comment (Shaun Seibel):
@david kirkwood UNT's Oral History department (Willis Library) has several interviews of related shared experiences called the UNT African American Remembrance Oral History Project.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Question, why can't the rest of our institutions look more diverse at the top levels like UNT Dallas is?

https://president.untdallas.edu/presidents-cabinet

https://www.untsystem.edu/board-regents

https://president.unt.edu/presidents-cabinet

https://www.unthsc.edu/about-us/office-of-the-president/

Look at the top four positions at each institution in UNT World, including the Chancellor

https://www.untsystem.edu/chancellor-lesa-roe

https://president.unt.edu/meet-president-smatresk

https://president.untdallas.edu/presidents-biography

https://www.unthsc.edu/about-us/office-of-the-president/meet-dr-williams/

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Black faculty experience racism and microagressions from multiple directions. We experience it from our supervisors, colleagues, and even our students.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Neal, where are you on your “voyage”?

Question/Comment (anonymous):
President Smatresk, as the President of the University, it is your job to LEAD in this path.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Asking us to send you comments on how to fix the problem, is a problem

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I also think that a lot of the 'progressive' offices also need more diverse staff. I feel like students of color would feel more comfortable receiving help from our departments if staff reflected them, and not just in the student workers or graduate assistants.

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
It is difficult to change everything and everyone all at once ... it is perhaps mare realistic to take systematic, persistent but gradual steps forward ... I am personally dismayed to see so much racism after the civil rights movement on the other hand ....

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Radical change refers to change that occurs relatively fast and modifies the essence of social structures and organizational practices. Specifically this type of change affects the resources, norms, an interpretive schemes of groups of individuals.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Neal sounds so defensive and snaps when asked direct questions, when given feedback. Will he be willing to reflect on how his communication style contributes to this problem?

Question/Comment (anonymous):
WE DON'T WANT ANYMORE TRAININGS. TRAININGS ARE PUTTING A BANDAID ON THE REAL ISSUE AT THIS POINT. Hence why we are still having this redundant conversation!

Question/Comment (Enedelia Sauceda):
Radical change suggestion is being more.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Radical change can happen and will last… our administration just has to be committed to the work that clearly needs to be done here.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I agree with the comment by Anonymous Attendee who posted at 3:03--that this conversation is not comforting our black community. I am a white, female faculty member, and I feel that more needs to be done to support our black community. What we have heard today is a lot of "talk" but it is not clear to me what actions are being taken. These action need to be transparent to everyone.

Question/Comment (J. Michael Spector):
changing the mind of one prejudiced person would be a worthwhile goal for each of us ... changing the policy of one university that has adverse effects on disadvantaged people would be a worthwhile step forward .... changing one law that is clearly harmful to minority populations would be a huge achievement ... changing the leader of one nation with a prejudiced leader would be a giant step towards systemic change.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
SUGGESTION FOR RADICAL CHANGE: Begin with holding faculty and staff accountable when they make a racist comment or behave in a racist manner. If you choose to work in a position to serve in Higher Education, you do not get to pick and choose who you want to educate properly, who you want to treat right, who you want to protect, who you want to serve. If they cannot serve everyone appropriately, we need to stop interviewing and stop accepting people whose behaviors do not align with UNT’s values.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Mr. President and upper administrator members, please reflect on these questions. How many times have you (1) initiated a conversation with a non-White person at an UNT event when compared to White men? (2) heard or seen something offensive but let it pass because of fear of counter-arguments related to freedom of speech? And (3) seriously ruled in favor of people of color who have complained about the oppressive or abusive behavior of White men, especially tenured professors and police officers?

Question/Comment (anonymous):
Some Suggestions on how we can go forward: 1) Some type of intensive DEI and race sensitivity training must be mandatory for Chairs, Associate Deans, Deans, VPs, Provosts, Presidents, Board of Regents members, and any other UNT Administration position. Such training should be followed up with trainings from Equity & Diversity Office each year. 2) SGA, GSC, and Faculty/Staff of Color committee leadership should be directly involved in vision and strategic planning with decision making power in these processes when it comes to DEI matters. Specifically, our student population is extremely diverse. Students, like our faculty and staff of color, have the critical perspective of race issues on our campus. UNT is our students and a student perspective is important on these issues. Our visions and planning mean nothing if students don’t see themselves in the decisions we make.

Question/Comment (Kathryn Beasley):
We need to change the way we discuss students of color in the recruitment and admission processes. Many discussions focus on a need to increase numbers of students of color, but these conversations almost always focus on how enrollment of these students will make us look externally. We need to instead make sure we have a safe, equitable campus where students of color are supported and where they want to enroll.

Question/Comment (anonymous):
As a female faculty of color- full professor- I see administrators and many faculty colleagues ill equipped to even understand, discuss and address the challenges that exists. How can we be in higher education that serves our student demographics but have such a gap of understanding of what members of our society experience. The “amy cooper” type of racism exists on campus (don’t challenge me or I will use my power to make you look bad).

Question/Comment (anonymous):
I want to state that as a coach of a very diverse athletic program here at UNT there are a lot of student athletes that are hurting right now. They feel un-empowered and do not think that the change that needs to take place will take place. I have had several conversations, across racial backgrounds. As a person of color, who is married to a white woman who admittedly is naive to a lot of what is going on. They, and we need real leadership right now which comes in the form of action. More black staff members need to be hired, if they are the best applicant for the position in athletics. These are unprecedented times from the standpoint of a pandemic and a global response to police brutality but it is not something the black community has not seen before.